The effect of chronic low-dose environmental radiation on organ mass of bank voles in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone
Kivisaari, K., Boratyński, Z., Lavrinienko, A., Kesäniemi, J., Lehmann, P., & Mappes, T. (2020). The effect of chronic low-dose environmental radiation on organ mass of bank voles in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 96(10), 1254-1262. https://doi.org/10.1080/09553002.2020.1793016
Published inInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
DisciplineEkologia ja evoluutiobiologiaEvoluutiotutkimus (huippuyksikkö)Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyCentre of Excellence in Evolutionary Research
© 2020 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Purpose: Animals are exposed to environmental ionizing radiation (IR) externally through proximity to contaminated soil and internally through ingestion and inhalation of radionuclides. Internal organs can respond to radioactive contamination through physiological stress. Chronic stress can compromise the size of physiologically active organs, but studies on wild mammal populations are scarce. The effects of environmental IR contamination on organ masses was studied by using a wild rodent inhabiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ). Material and Methods: The masses of brain, heart, kidney, spleen, liver and lung were assessed from bank voles (Myodes glareolus) captured from areas across radioactive contamination gradient within the CEZ. Relative organ masses were used to correct for the body mass of an individual. Results: Results showed a significant negative correlation between IR level in the environment and relative brain and kidney mass. A significant positive correlation between IR and relative heart mass was also found. Principal component analysis (PCA) also suggested positive relationship between IR and relative spleen mass, however this relationship was not significant when spleen was analyzed separately. There was no apparent relationship between IR and relative liver or lung mass. Conclusions: Results suggest that in the wild populations even low but chronic doses of IR can lead to changes in relative organ mass. The novelty of these result is showing that exposure to low doses can affect the organ masses in similar fashion as previously shown on high, acute, radiation doses. This data supports the hypothesis that wildlife might be more sensitive to IR than animals used in laboratory studies. However, more research is needed to rule out the other indirect effects such as radiosensitivity of the food sources or possible combined stress effects from e.g. infections. ...
PublisherTaylor & Francis
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Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Academy Project, AoF
Additional information about fundingAcademy of Finland to TM (Grant No. 268670) and Emil Aaltonen Foundation (Grant No. 160107) and Oskar Öflund Foundation to KK, open research doctoral program award from the University of Oulu Graduate School to AL and Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (Grant No. SFRH/BPD/84822/2012) for ZB financially supported this study.
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