Unchanged cardiovascular and respiratory outcomes in healthy C57Bl/6 mice after in utero exposure to ionizing radiation
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BACKGROUND: Advancements in medical technologies that utilize ionizing radiation have led to improved diagnosis and patient outcomes, however, the effect of ionizing radiation on the patient is still debated. In the case of pregnancy, the potential effects are not only to the mother but also to the fetus. The aim of this study was to determine if exposure from ionizing radiation during pregnancy alters the development of the cardiovascular and respiratory system of the offspring. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Pregnant C57Bl/6 mice were whole-body irradiated at gestational day 15 with a 137Cs gamma radiation emitting source at 0 mGy (sham), 50 mGy, 300 mGy, or 1000 mGy. Post weaning weight and blood pressure measurements were taken weekly for both male and female pups until euthanasia at 16-17 weeks postnatal age. Immediately following, the trachea was cannulated, and the lungs and heart excised. The lung was then examined to assess respiratory physiological outcomes. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS: In utero exposures to 1000 mGy caused significant growth reduction compared to sham irradiated, which remained persistent for both male and female pups. Growth restriction was not observed for lower exposures. There was no significant change in any cardiovascular or respiratory outcomes measured. Overall, intrauterine exposures to ionizing radiation does not appear to significantly alter the development of the cardiovascular and respiratory system in C57Bl/6 pups up to 17 weeks postnatal age.