mice benefit from gamma ray irradiation

Doug Skrecky (oberon@vcn.bc.ca)
Thu, 1 Jul 1999 23:02:59 -0700 (PDT)

Caratero A. Courtade M. Bonnet L. Planel H. Caratero C. Institution
Laboratoire d'Histologie-Embryologie-Cytogenetique, Faculte de Medecine Toulouse-Rangueil, Toulouse, France. caratero@cict.fr Title
Effect of a continuous
gamma irradiation at a very low dose on the life span of mice.
Gerontology. 44(5):272-6, 1998.
BACKGROUND: There is epidemiological evidence that suggests there are beneficial effects of ionizing radiation at low doses. Some experimental studies confirmed this hormetic effect with doses of about 1 cGy/day, but no data concerning very low dose rates are available. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the life span of mice exposed to very low doses of ionizing radiation. METHODS: Six hundred female C57BL/6 mice, 1 month old, were exposed to chronic gamma irradiation at very low dose rates of 7 or 14 cGy/year. These doses are about 25 or 50 times higher than background, but much lower than the doses of about 1 cGy/day used in previous experiments. Three hundred mice living in the same room were used as controls. RESULTS: The life span, after the beginning of the experiment, determined by the survival time of 50% of each population, is increased in irradiated mice: 549 days in controls, 673 days in both irradiated groups. The differences are significant between the control and the irradiation mice. Differences between mice irradiated with 7 or 14 cGy are not significant. CONCLUSIONS: These results confirm the possibility of a nonharmful effect (hormesis) of ionizing radiation. They demonstrate that the paradigm, which states that low-dose effects can be predicted high-dose effects, cannot be systematically applied in radiation biology in general and gerontology in particular.