Exposure of rats to 1-15 Gy γ radiation$({}^{60}{\rm Co})$ induced hyperthermia, whereas 20-200 Gy induced hypothermia. Exposure either to the head or to the whole body to 10 Gy induced hyperthermia, while body-only exposure produced hypothermia. This observation indicates that radiation-induced fever is a result of a direct effect on the brain. The hyperthermia due to 10 Gy was significantly attenuated by the pre- or post-treatment with a cyclooxygenase inhibitor, indomethacin. Hyperthermia was also altered by the central administration of a μ-receptor antagonist naloxone but only at low doses of radiation. These findings suggest that radiation-induced hyperthermia may be mediated through the synthesis and release of prostaglandins in the brain and to a lesser extent to the release of endogenous opioid peptides. The release of histamine acting on H1 and H2 receptors may be involved in radiation-induced hypothermia, since both the H1 receptor antagonist, mepyramine, and H2 receptor antagonist, cimetidine, antagonized the hypothermia. The results of these studies suggest that the release of neurohumoral substances induced by exposure to ionizing radiation is dose dependent and has different consequences on physiological processes such as the regulation of body temperature. Furthermore, the antagonism of radiation-induced hyperthermia by indomethacin may have potential therapeutic implications in the treatment of fever resulting from accidental irradiations.

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