IRSN, Institut de radioprotection et de sûreté nucléaire

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Enhancing Nuclear Safety


The effects on health of chronic contamination with a low dose of radionuclides

(juillet 2011)

RESEARCH allowing the evaluation of radionuclide-related risks and their impact on health

The ENVIRHOM-Santé experimental research programme or Understanding the effects on health of chronic contamination with a low dose of radionuclides

The brain: A new target organ to uranium

Is the xenobiotic detoxification system affected by chronic exposure to uranium ?

Chronic ingestion of caesium 137 in a post-accident situation

Chronic exposure to caesium 137: Experimental and epidemiological studies

Metabolomics: Application in radiotoxicology

The perspectives of the ENVIRHOM-Santé programme

Chronic ingestion of caesium 137 in a post-accident situation

Changes in other physiological systems

Other studies carried out in rodents under the same contamination conditions, have been realized in order to describe the effects on the central nervous system, the gastro-intestinal system and on steroid metabolism (Gueguen et al., 2008a).

Significant biological effects were observed such as a decreased plasma levels of vitamin D (essential hormone to maintain phospho-calcium homeostasis in the body) (Tissandie et al., 2006), molecular modification in steroid hormone metabolism or cholesterol metabolism (Grignard et al., 2008, Racine et al., 2009) and a decreased cell apoptosis (programmed cell death) in the intestinal epithelium (Dublineau et al., 2007).

Conversely, the motor and cognitive activities of rats were not disrupted by this caesium 137 contamination (Houpert et al., 2007) although caesium is capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier (Lestaevel et al., 2006, Tourlonias et al., 2010). These changes cannot, however, be translated clinically since they are not accompanied by the onset of noticeable diseases.


references :

Dublineau I, Grison S, Grandcolas L, Baudelin C, Paquet F, Voisin P, Aigueperse J, Gourmelon P (2007) Effects of chronic 137Cs ingestion on barrier properties of jejunal epithelium in rats. J Toxicol Environ Health A 70:810-819.

Grignard E, Gueguen Y, Grison S, Lobaccaro JM, Gourmelon P, Souidi M (2008) In vivo effects of chronic contamination with 137 cesium on testicular and adrenal steroidogenesis. Arch Toxicol 82:583-589.

 Gueguen Y, Lestaevel P, Jourdain JR, Bertho JM, Gourmelon P, Souidi M, Dublineau I (2008a) Effects of cesium-137 on the main physiological functions of rodents. Biofutur 291:38-42.

Houpert P, Bizot JC, Bussy C, Dhieux B, Lestaevel P, Gourmelon P, Paquet F (2007) Comparison of the effects of enriched uranium and 137-cesium on the behaviour of rats after chronic exposure. Int J Radiat Biol 83:99-104.

Lestaevel P, Dhieux B, Tourlonias E, Houpert P, Paquet F, Voisin P, Aigueperse J, Gourmelon P (2006) Evaluation of the effect of chronic exposure to 137Cesium on sleep-wake cycle in rats. Toxicology 226:118-125.

Racine R, Grandcolas L, Grison S, Gourmelon P, Gueguen Y, Veyssiere G, Souidi M (2009) Molecular modifications of cholesterol metabolism in the liver and the brain after chronic contamination with cesium 137. Food Chem Toxicol 47:1642-1647.

Tissandie E, Gueguen Y, Lobaccaro JM, Aigueperse J, Gourmelon P, Paquet F, Souidi M (2006) Chronic contamination with 137Cesium affects Vitamin D3 metabolism in rats. Toxicology 225:75-80.

Tourlonias E, Bertho JM, Gurriaran R, Voisin P, Paquet F (2010) Distribution of 137Cs in rat tissues after various schedules of chronic ingestion. Health Phys 99:39-48.


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