Acute pulmonary and splenic response in an in vivo model of whole-body low-dose X-radiation exposure

Purpose: Diagnostic radiation is an important part of patient care in the Intensive Care Unit; however, there is little data on the acute effects of exposure to these doses. We investigated pulmonary and splenic response 30 minutes, 4 hours or 24 hours after exposure to 2 mGy, 20 mGy, 200 mGy or 4 Gy whole-body X-radiation in a Sprague Dawley rat model.

Materials and methods: Lung injury was assessed via respiratory mechanics, pulmonary edema, cellular, and proteinaceous fluid infiltrate and protein expression of oxidative stress markers. The radiation effect on the spleen was determined via proliferation, apoptosis and protein expression of oxidative stress markers.

Results: All measurements of the lung did not differ from sham animals except for an increase in catalase after high dose exposure. Stimulated splenocyte proliferation increased after sham and low dose exposure, did not change after 200 mGy exposure and was significantly lower after 4 Gy exposure. The number of apoptotic cells increased 4 hours after 4 Gy exposure. There were fewer apoptotic cells after low dose exposure compared to sham. Both catalase and MnSOD were increased after 4 Gy exposure.

Conclusion: There was no measured effect on pulmonary function while there was an impact to the spleen after low and high dose exposure.