Guan, J., Wan, X. S., Zhou, Z., Ware, J., Donahue, J. J., Biaglow, J. E. and Kennedy, A. R. Effects of Dietary Supplements on Space Radiation-Induced Oxidative Stress in Sprague-Dawley Rats. Radiat. Res. 162, 572–579 (2004).

Of particular concern for the health of astronauts during space travel is radiation from protons and high-mass, high-atomic-number (Z), and high-energy particles (HZE particles). Space radiation is known to induce oxidative stress in astronauts after extended space flight. In the present study, the total antioxidant status was used as a biomarker to evaluate oxidative stress induced by γ rays, protons and HZE-particle radiation. The results demonstrate that the plasma level of total antioxidants in Sprague-Dawley rats was significantly decreased (P < 0.01) in a dose-dependent manner within 4 h after exposure to γ rays. Exposure to protons and HZE-particle radiation also significantly decreased the serum or plasma level of total antioxidants in the irradiated animals. Diet supplementation with l-selenomethionine alone or a combination of selected antioxidant agents was shown to partially or completely prevent the decrease in the serum or plasma levels of total antioxidants in animals exposed to γ rays, protons or HZE particles. These findings suggest that exposure to space radiation may compromise the capacity of the host antioxidant defense and that this adverse biological effect can be prevented at least partially by dietary supplementation with l-selenomethionine and antioxidants.

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