|CAHOON, DANIELLE - Tufts University|
|BIELINSKI, DONNA - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University|
|HAWKINS, ELIZABETH - University Of Maryland|
|CACIOPPO, ALICIA - University Of Maryland|
|RABIN, BERNARD - University Of Maryland|
Submitted to: Life Sciences in Space Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/22/2020
Publication Date: 7/24/2020
Citation: Cahoon, D., Shukitt Hale, B., Bielinski, D.F., Hawkins, E.M., Cacioppo, A.M., Rabin, B.M. 2020. Effects of partial or whole-body exposures to 56Fe particles on brain function and cognitive performance in rats. Life Sciences in Space Research. 27:56-63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lssr.2020.07.006.
Interpretive Summary: Astronauts in outer space will be exposed to radiation that can harm brain cells and disrupt brain function. Cells throughout the entire body, not just the brain, are impacted by this radiation. To determine whether irradiation of the body (apart from the head) can impact brain function, rats were given head-only, body-only or whole-body exposures to radiation. One set of animals was tested for brain performance; the brains from a second set of rats were analyzed for molecular changes. The results indicated that the location of the irradiation did not matter; brain performance and brain cell function were impacted regardless. These results suggest that radiation to the body can harm the brain; therefore, it may be necessary to re-evaluate astronauts’ risk of brain damage through radiation.
Technical Abstract: On exploratory class missions, such as a mission to Mars, astronauts will be exposed to particles of high energy and charge (HZE particles). Exposure to HZE particles produces changes in neuronal function and can disrupt cognitive performance. Cells throughout the entire body, not just the brain, will be impacted by these particles. To determine the possible effects that irradiation of the body might have on neuronal function and cognitive performance, rats were given head-only, body-only or whole-body exposures to 56Fe particles. Cognitive performance (novel object recognition, operant responding) was tested in one set of animals; changes in neuronal function (oxidative stress, neuroinflammation) was tested in a second set of rats. The results indicated that there were no consistent differences in either behavioral or neurochemical endpoints as a function of the location of the irradiation. These results suggest that radiation to the body can impact the brain, therefore it may be necessary to re-evaluate the estimates of the risk of HZE particle-induced changes in neuronal function and cognitive performance.