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Radiat Res. 2015 Jun;183(6):708-12. Epub 2015 May 26.

28Silicon Irradiation Impairs Contextual Fear Memory in B6D2F1 Mice.

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  • 1Departments of a  Behavioral Neuroscience;
  • 2b  Neurology and Radiation Medicine, Division of Neuroscience ONPRC, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239;
  • 3d  Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Life Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94720.
  • 4c  Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences and Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon 97239; and.


The space radiation environment consists of multiple species of charged particles, including (28)Si, (48)Ti and protons that may impact cognition, but their damaging effects have been poorly defined. In mouse studies, C57Bl6/J homozygous wild-type mice and genetic mutant mice on a C57Bl6/J background have typically been used for assessing effects of space radiation on cognition. In contrast, little is known about the radiation response of mice on a heterozygous background. Therefore, in the current study we tested the effects of (28)Si, (48)Ti and proton radiation on hippocampus-dependent contextual fear memory and hippocampus-independent cued fear memory in C57Bl6/J × DBA2/J F1 (B6D2F1) mice three months after irradiation. Contextual fear memory was impaired at a 1.6 Gy dose of (28)Si radiation, but not cued fear memory. (48)Ti or proton irradiation did not affect either type of memory. Based on earlier space radiation cognitive data in C57Bl6/J mice, these data highlight the importance of including different genetic backgrounds in studies aimed at assessing cognitive changes after exposure to space radiation.

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