Effect of Gender on the Radiation Sensitivity of Murine Blood Cells

Paul C Billings, Ana L. Romero-Weaver, Ann R. Kennedy

Abstract


Space travel beyond the Earth’s protective magnetosphere risks exposing astronauts to ionizing radiation, such as that generated during a solar particle event (SPE). Ionizing radiation has well documented effects on blood cells and it is generally assumed that these effects contribute to the hematopoietic syndrome (HS), observed in animals and humans, following total body irradiation (TBI) exposure. The purpose of the current study was to assess the role of gender on the effects of gamma radiation on blood cells. C3H/HEN mice were irradiated with a 137Cs gamma source. Radiation had similar effects on white blood cells, lymphocytes and granulocytes in male and female C3H/HeN mice, while RBC counts and hematocrit values remained stable following radiation exposure. Non-irradiated male mice had 13% higher platelet counts, compared with their female counterparts and showed enhanced recovery of platelets on day 16 following radiation exposure. Hence, gender differences influence the response of platelets to TBI exposure.

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