Deckhut Augustine, A., Gondré-Lewis, T., McBride, W., Miller, L., Pellmar, T. C. and Rockwell, S. Animal Models for Radiation Injury, Protection and Therapy. Radiat. Res. 164, 100–109 (2005).
Current events throughout the world underscore the growing threat of different forms of terrorism, including radiological or nuclear attack. Pharmaceutical products and other approaches are needed to protect the civilian population from radiation and to treat those with radiation-induced injuries. In the event of an attack, radiation exposures will be heterogeneous in terms of both dose and quality, depending on the type of device used and each victim's location relative to the radiation source. Therefore, methods are needed to protect against and treat a wide range of early and slowly developing radiation-induced injuries. Equally important is the development of rapid and accurate biodosimetry methods for estimating radiation doses to individuals and guiding clinical treatment decisions. Acute effects of high-dose radiation include hematopoietic cell loss, immune suppression, mucosal damage (gastrointestinal and oral), and potential injury to other sites such as the lung, kidney and central nervous system (CNS). Long-term effects, as a result of both high- and low-dose radiation, include dysfunction or fibrosis in a wide range of organs and tissues and cancer. The availability of appropriate types of animal models, as well as adequate numbers of animals, is likely to be a major bottleneck in the development of new or improved radioprotectors, mitigators and therapeutic agents to prevent or treat radiation injuries and of biodosimetry methods to measure radiation doses to individuals.