Lasting Effects of Low to Non-Lethal Radiation Exposure during Late Gestation on Offspring’s Cardiac Metabolism and Oxidative Stress Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Ionizing radiation (IR) is known to cause fetal programming, but the physiological effects of low-dose IR are not fully understood. This study examined the effect of low (50 mGy) to non-lethal (300 and 1000 mGy) radiation exposure during late gestation on cardiac metabolism and oxidative stress in adult offspring. Pregnant C57BL/6J mice were exposed to 50, 300, or 1000 mGy of gamma radiation or Sham irradiation on gestational day 15. Sixteen weeks after birth, 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (FDG) uptake was examined in the offspring using Positron Emission Tomography imaging. Western blot was used to determine changes in oxidative stress, antioxidants, and insulin signaling related proteins. Male and female offspring from irradiated dams had lower body weights when compared to the Sham. 1000 mGy female offspring demonstrated a significant increase in 18F-FDG uptake, glycogen content, and oxidative stress. 300 and 1000 mGy female mice exhibited increased superoxide dismutase activity, decreased glutathione peroxidase activity, and decreased reduced/oxidized glutathione ratio. We conclude that non-lethal radiation during late gestation can alter glucose uptake and increase oxidative stress in female offspring. These data provide evidence that low doses of IR during the third trimester are not harmful but higher, non-lethal doses can alter cardiac metabolism later in life and sex may have a role in fetal programming.


  • Nemec-Bakk, Ashley S
  • Niccoli, Sarah
  • Davidson, Caitlund
  • Roy, Danika
  • Stoa, Lisa
  • Sreetharan, Shayenthiran
  • Simard, Alain
  • Boreham, Douglas Robert
  • Wilson, Joanna
  • Tai, TC
  • Lees, Simon J
  • Khaper, Neelam

publication date

  • May 20, 2021