Submitted to: American Society for Gravitation and Space Biology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/10/2005
Publication Date: 6/1/2005
Citation: Rabin, B.M., Shukitt Hale, B., Joseph, J.A., Tood, P. 2005. Diet as a factor in behavioral radiation protection following exposure to heavy particles. American Society for Gravitation and Space Biology 18(2)June 2005.
Interpretive Summary: not needed
Technical Abstract: Major risks associated with radiation exposures on deep space missions include carcinogenesis due to heavy-particle exposure of cancer-prone tissues and performance decrements due to neurological damage produced by heavy particles. Because exposure to heavy particles can cause oxidative stress, it is possible that antioxidants can be used to mitigate these risks (and possibly some health risks of microgravity). To assess the capacity of antioxidant diets to mitigate the effects of exposure to heavy particles, rats were maintained on antioxidant diets containing 2% blueberry or strawberry extract or a control diet for 8 weeks prior to exposure to1.5 or 2.0Gy of accelerated iron particles at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Following irradiation rats were tested on a series of behavioral tasks: amphetamine-induced taste aversion learning, operant responding and spatial learning and memory. The results indicated that the performance of the radiated rats maintained on the antioxidant diets was, in general, significantly better than that of the control animals, although the effectiveness of the diets ameliorating the radiation-induced deterioration in performance varied as a function of both the specific diet and the specific endpoint. In addition, animals fed antioxidant diets prior to exposure showed reduced heavy particle-induced tumorigenesis one year after exposure compared to the animals fed the control diet. These results suggest that antioxidant diets have the potential to serve as part of a system designed to provide protection to astronauts against the effects of heavy particles on exploratory missions outside the magnetic field of the earth.