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Radiat Res. 2019 Aug;192(4):451-455. doi: 10.1667/RR15385.1. Epub 2019 Aug 7.

Life-Shortening Effect of Chronic Low-Dose-Rate Irradiation in Calorie-Restricted Mice.

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Departments of Radiobiology.
Departments of Radioecology, Institute for Environmental Sciences, Rokkasho, Kamikita, Aomori, Japan.
Departments of Tohoku Environmental Science Service Corporation, 330-2, Noduki, Obuchi, Rokkasho, Kamikita, Aomori, Japan.


Calorie restriction is known to influence several physiological processes and to alleviate the late effects of radiation exposure such as neoplasm induction and life shortening. However, earlier related studies were limited to acute radiation exposure. Therefore, in this study we examined the influence of chronic low-dose-rate irradiation on lifespan. Young male B6C3F1/Jcl mice were divided randomly into two groups, which were fed either a low-calorie (65 kcal/ week) or high-calorie (95 kcal/week) diet. The latter is comparable to ad libitum feeding. The animals in the irradiated group were continuously exposed to gamma rays for 400 days at 20 mGy/day, resulting in a total dose of 8 Gy. Exposure and calorie restriction were initiated at 8 weeks of age and the diets were maintained for life. The life-shortening effects from chronic whole-body irradiation were compared between the groups. Body weights were reduced in calorie-restricted mice irrespective of radiation treatment. Radiation induced a shortened median lifespan in both groups, but to a greater extent in the calorie-restricted mice. These results suggest that calorie restriction may sensitize mice to chronic low-dose-rate radiation exposure to produce a life-shortening effect rather than alleviating the effects of radiation.

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