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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Effects of Heavy Particle Irradiation on Exploration and Response to Environmental Change

Authors
item Casadesus, Gemma - TUFTS-HNRCA
item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara
item Cantuti-Castelvetri, Ippolita - HARVARD
item Rabin, Bernard - UMBC
item Joseph, James

Submitted to: Advances in Space Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 2004
Publication Date: June 24, 2004
Citation: Casadesus, G., Shukitt Hale, B., Cantuti-Castelvetri, I., Rabin, B.M., Joseph, J.A. 2004. The effects of heavy particle irradiation on exploration and response to environmental change. Advances in Space Research.

Interpretive Summary: The present research was designed to investigate the effects of exposure to iron radiation on the ability of rats to detect new arrangements in a given environment. Using a test of memory previously demonstrated to be sensitive to aging, open field activity and reaction to changes in the environment were measured in a group that received radiation or a control group. Radiated animals showed some age-like effects, although they were subtle. Specifically, radiated rats took longer to enter, visited less and spent significantly less time in the middle and the center portions of the open field. Likewise, irradiated subjects reacted significantly more to new objects placed in the open field than did controls. However, irradiated subjects did not vary from controls in their exploration patterns when objects in the open field were spatially rearranged. Thus, irradiation with iron particles elicited age-like effects in general open field exploratory behavior, but did not elicit age-like effects during the changed environment.

Technical Abstract: Free radicals produced by exposure to heavy particles have been found to produce motor and behavioral toxicity effects in rats similar to those found during aging. The present research was designed to investigate the effects of exposure to 56Fe particles on the ability of male Sprague-Dawley rats to detect novel arrangements in a given environment. Using a test of spatial memory previously demonstrated to be sensitive to aging, open field activity and reaction to spatial and non-spatial changes were measured in a group that received a dose of 1.5 Gy (n=10) of 56Fe heavy particle radiation or in non-radiated controls (n=10). Animals irradiated with 1.5 Gy of 56Fe particles exhibited some age-like effects in rats tested, even though they were, for the most part, subtle. Animals took longer to enter, visited less and spent significantly less time in the middle and the center portions of the open field, independently of total frequency and duration of activity of both groups. Likewise, irradiated subjects reacted significantly more to novel objects placed in the open field than did controls. However, irradiated subjects did not vary from controls in their exploration patterns when objects in the open field were spatially rearranged. Thus, irradiation with a dose of 1.5 Gy of 56Fe high-energy particle radiation elicited age-like effects in general open field exploratory behavior, but did not elicit age-like effects during the spatial and non-spatial rearrangement tasks.

Last Modified: 10/20/2014