Forty-eight ferrets (Mustela putorius furo) were individually head-shielded and radiated with bilateral60 Co γ radiation at 100 cGy min-1 at doses ranging between 49 and 601 cGy. The emetic threshold was observed at 69 cGy, the ED50 was calculated as 77 cGy, and 100% incidence of emesis occurred at 201 cGy. With increasing doses of radiation, the latency to first emesis after radiation decreased dramatically, whereas the duration of the prodromal period increased. Two other sets of experiments suggest that dopaminergic mechanisms play a minor role in radiation-induced emesis in the ferret. Twenty-two animals were injected either intravenously or subcutaneously with 30 to 300 μg/kg of apomorphine. Fewer than 50% of the animals vomited to 300 μg/kg apomorphine; central dopaminergic receptor activation was apparent at all doses. Another eight animals received 1 mg/kg domperidone prior to either 201 (n = 4) or 401 (n = 4) cGy radiation and their emetic responses were compared with NaCl-injected-irradiated controls (n = 8). At 201 cGy, domperidone significantly reduced only the total time in emetic behavior. At 401 cGy, domperidone had no salutary effect on radiation-induced emesis. The emetic responses of the ferret to radiation and apomorphine are compared with these responses in other vomiting species.

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