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Influence of low doses chronic contamination on the progression of atheromatous pathology

Clélia Le Gallic has defended her thesis on 21st April 2015 in Fontenay-aux-Roses.​

Document type > *Mémoire/HDR/Thesis

Keywords >


Authors > LE GALLIC Clélia

Publication Date > 21/04/2015


Large amounts of radionuclides were released in the environment after the Chernobyl (1986) or Fukushima-Daichii (2011) nuclear accidents, and mostly cesium 137. Populations living in contaminated territories are chronically exposed to radionuclides by ingestion of contaminated food. There is a real interrogation about the potential effects that could be induced following such ionizing exposure on physiological functions in the long term.

Concerning the cardiovascular system, there is a correlation between the irradiation dose and the appearance of cardiovascular diseases. However, when we focused on post-accidental situations, with a low dose exposure, available data are not all in accordance, due to multifactorial aspect of these pathologies. Epidemiological results should be interpreted carefully.

Thus, the aim of my thesis is to complete epidemiological studies about chronic internal γ low dose exposure, using cesium 137, in an atheromatous context. Atherosclerosis and its consequences are known to be the main cause of mortality/morbidity in industrialized countries.

Predisposed animals (ApoE-/- mice) were exposed to 137Cs through the drinking water. The concentration range was 4 to 100 kBq.L-1, to surround concentration found in contaminated territories around Chernobyl. Exposure times were 3, 6 or 9 months to follow atherosclerosis progression.

After 3 months exposure, for the early stages, mice exposed to the highest dose presented an increase in some inflammatory cytokines, notably IFN-γ and VCAM-1, with an intimal-medial thickness increased compared to non-exposed animals. Moreover, at this time exposure, we noticed concomitant variation of genic expression of pro and anti-oxydative enzymes (p47, p67, GPx). These effects are only transient and do not perdure over the time. Indeed, after 6 and 9 months exposure, atheromatous plaque observed in the aortic sinus, present more stability parameters than the control group (collagen), with also a decrease in pro-inflammatory profile cytokines expression (CRP, TNF-α, MCP-1 et IFN-γ), and MMPs expression, and increase in GPx activity compared to the control group.

All together, these results suggest that chronic internal exposure to low dose ionizing radition with 137Cs do not potentiate atherosclerosis progression. Such exposure induces an adaptive response along the experimental process, with an amelioration of atheromatous plaque phenotype, acting on the balance of pro/anti-inflammatory cytokines, pro/anti oxydant system.


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