The influence of age at injection of226 Ra or239 Pu on skeletal deposition and local distribution, the pattern of bone tumor formation, and postinjection survival was assessed in parallel short-term studies of mechanisms and lifetime toxicity. Beagles received a single intravenous injection of226 Ra or239 Pu at 3 months (juveniles), 17-19 months (young adults) or 60 months (mature). Data from short-term studies of mechanisms and dosimetry and from one dosage level (41 kBq|${}^{226}{\rm Ra}/{\rm kg}$| or 11 kBq|${}^{239}{\rm Pu}/{\rm kg}$| body mass) of each of the toxicity experiments were compared. Skeletal growth and turnover produced differential initial deposition and distribution patterns typical for each age group. At 1 week after injection, skeletal retention of226 Ra or239 Pu was 68 and 68%, respectively, in the juveniles, 32 and 46% in the young adults, and 31 and 43% in the mature dogs. Comparing individual bones in the juveniles, gradients in the concentration of239 Pu were small since all bones were actively growing, but substantial gradients, corresponding to centers of ossification, were present within individual bones. In other age groups, local concentration gradients were less pronounced, but much larger differences were present among the various bones. In the toxicity study all animals injected with either 41 kBq|${}^{226}{\rm Ra}/{\rm kg}$| or 11 kBq|${}^{239}{\rm Pu}/{\rm kg}$| have died. The cumulative average skeletal doses to the presumed time of start of tumor growth (1 year before death) were 25 and 4 Gy, respectively, for the juveniles, 22 and 5 Gy for the young adults, and 15 and 4 Gy for the mature dogs. The highest bone tumor incidence was seen in the young adult groups. Differences were observed in location of bone tumors between dogs in the same age group given radium or plutonium and among age groups injected with either radio-nuclide, some of which could be explained by differences in local dose distributions. Median postinjection survival assessed by the Kaplan-Meier nonparametric method ranged from 2513 and 2592 days for the juveniles to 2099 and 1617 for the young adults to 2086 and 1421 in the mature groups. Cox regression analysis indicated no significant differences in postinjection survivals (uncorrected for the different preinjection periods) of groups injected with radium, but there was a statistically significant difference among the groups injected with plutonium. It was demonstrated that differences in the effects of239 Pu in the three groups were due primarily to the age- and time-dependent local distribution of the radionuclide.

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