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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NEUROCOGNITION/NEUROSCIENCE Title: Cognitive effects of partial and whole body exposures to 160 particles

Authors
item Rabin, Bernard M. -
item Shukitt-Hale, Barbara
item Gomes, Stacey -
item Carrihill-Knoll, Kirsty L. -

Submitted to: Journal of Radiation Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 4, 2013
Publication Date: February 28, 2014
Citation: Rabin, B., Shukitt Hale, B., Gomes, S., Carrihill-Knoll, K. 2014. Cognitive effects of partial and whole body exposures to 160 particles. Journal of Radiation Research. 55:100-101. DOI: 10.1093/jrr/rrt187.

Interpretive Summary: When rats and mice are exposed to radiation to simulate the effect of exposure to space radiation on brain performance, there may be differences in the amount of tissue that is irradiated: some experimenters irradiate only the head whereas others irradiate the entire organism. The aim of this study was to test whether these different patterns of exposure have different effects on brain performance. Rats were exposed to radioactive particles using three exposure conditions: head-only, body-only and whole body. Brain function was subsequently measured using various tests of anxiety, learning and memory, motivation and responsiveness. The results of the experiments indicate that: (1) there may be differences in brain performance following exposure to either head-only or whole body exposure to radiation depending on the specific task; and (2) for some tasks, body-only exposures can disrupt brain performance. These results indicate that body-only exposures have the potential to influence brain performance, possibly by causing the release of chemicals in the body that affect the brain through the body’s nervous system.

Technical Abstract: When rats and mice are exposed to HZE particles at the NASA Space Radiation Laboratory (NSRL) at Brookhaven National Laboratory to simulate the effect of exposure to space radiation on cognitive performance, there may be differences in the amount of tissue that is irradiated: some experimenters irradiate only the head whereas others irradiate the entire organism. The aim of this study was to test whether these different patterns of exposure have differential effects on cognitive performance. Rats were exposed to 16O (1000 MeV/n; 1, 5, 10, 25 cGy) particles at the NSRL using three exposure conditions: head-only, body-only and whole body. Cognitive performance was subsequently measured using the elevated-plus-maze (baseline anxiety); novel object recognition (general learning and memory); novel spatial location (spatial learning and memory); and operant responding on an ascending fixed-ratio schedule (motivation and responsiveness to environmental stimuli). The results of the experiments indicate that: (1) there may be differences in cognitive performance following exposure to either head-only or whole body exposure to 16O particles depending on the specific task; and (2) for some tasks, body-only exposures can disrupt neurocognitive performance. These results indicate that body-only exposures have the potential to influence cognitive performance which is mediated by the brain. While the mechanism remains to be fully established, it is possible that exposure of the body to HZE particles causes the release of cytokines which can affect neuronal function, either directly or through the mediation of the vagus nerve.

Last Modified: 11/28/2014
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