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ALTERATIONS IN WATER AND ELECTROLYTE ABSORPTION IN THE RAT COLON FOLLOWING NEUTRON IRRADIATION: INFLUENCE OF NEUTRON COMPONENT AND IRRADIATION DOSE

International Journal of Radiation Biology 78(12), 1127-1138, 2002 I. DUBLINEAU, B. KSAS, C. JOUBERT, J. AIGUEPERSE, P. GOURMELON and N. M. GRIFFITHS.

Summary

Purpose: To study absorptive function of rat colon following whole-body exposure to neutron irradiation, either to the same total dose with varying proportion of neutrons, or to the same neutron proportion with an increasing irradiation dose. Materials and Methods: Different proportions of neutron irradiation were produced from the reactor SILENE using a fissile solution of uranium nitrate ( 8, 47 and 87 % neutron). Water and electrolyte fluxes were measured in the rat in vivo under anaesthesia by insertion into the descending colon of an agarose gel cylinder simulating the faeces. Functional studies were completed by histological analyses. In the first set of experiments, rats received a total of 3.8Gy with various neutron percentages and were studied from 1 to 14 days after exposure. In the second set of experiments, rats were exposed to increasing doses of irradiation (1-4 Gy) with a high neutron percentage (87%n) and were studied at four days after exposure. Results and conclusions: The absorptive capacity of rat colon was diminished by irradiation at 3-5 days, with a nadir at 4 days. The results demonstrate that an increase in the neutron proportion is associated with an amplification of the effects. Furthermore, a delay in the re-establishment of normal absorption was observed with the high neutron proportion (87%n). A dose-dependent reduction of water absorption by rat colon was also observed following neutron irradiation (87%n), with a 50% reduction at 3 Gy. Comparison of this dose-effect curve with the curve obtained following gamma 60Co irradiation indicates a RBE of 2.2 for absorptive colonic function in rat calculated at four days after exposure.

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