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Accumulation and distribution of uranium in rats after chronic exposure by ingestion



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Paquet F., Houpert P., Blanchardon E., Delissen O., Maubert C., Dhieux B., Moreels A.M., Frelon S., Voisin Ph. and Gourmelon P.

Health Phys. 90(2) : 139-147; 2006


Data describing the biokinetics of radionuclides after contamination come mainly from experim,ental acute exposures of laboratory animals and follow-up olr incidental exposures of humans. These data were compiled to form reference models that could be used for dose calculation in humans. In case of protracted exposure, the same models are applied, assuming that they are not modified by the duration of exposure. This work aims at testing this hypothesis. It presents new experimental data on retention of uranium after chronic intake, which are compared to values calculated from a biokinetic model that is based on experiments of acute exposure of rats to uranium. Experiments were performed with 56 male Sprague Dawley rats, from which 35 were exposed during their whole adult life to 40 mg L -1 of uranyl nitrate dissolved in mineral water and 21 were kept as controls. AIJLimais were euthanatized at 32, 95, 186, 312, 368, and 570 d after the beginning of contamination. Urine and all tissues were removed, weighted, mineralized, and then analyzed for uranium content by Kinetics Phosphorescence Analysis (KPA) or by ICP-MS. Experimental data showed that uranium accumulated in most organs, following a nonmonoton0111s pattern. Peaks of activities were observed at 1-3, 10, and 19 mo after the beginning of exposure. Additionally, accumullation was shown to occur in tissues such as teeth and brain that are not usually described as target organs. Comparison 1Nith model prediction showed that the accumulation of uraniu:m in target organs after chronic exposure is overestimated by the use of a model designed for acute exposure. These ditTeren(:es indicate that protracted exposure to uranium may induce changes in biokinetic parameters when compared to acute contamination and that calculation of dose resulting from chronic intake of radionuclides may need specific models that are not currently available.