The effects of radiation exposure on germ cells and the gonads have been well studied at acute high-dose exposures, but the effects of chronic low-dose-rate (LDR) irradiation, particularly relevant for radiation protection, on germ cells and the gonads are largely unknown. Our previous study revealed that chronic exposure of mice to medium-dose-rate (MDR, 200 or 400 mGy/day) gamma-rays in utero for the entire gestation period (18 days) induced only a mild degree of general growth retardation, but with very drastic effects on the gonads and germ cells. In the current study, we further investigated the histomorphological changes in the gonads and the number of germ cells from gestation day (GD) 18 fetuses irradiated with MDR throughout the entire gestation period. The germ cells in the testes and ovaries of the MDR-irradiated fetuses were almost obliterated. Gestation day 18 fetuses exposed to LDR (20 mGy/day) radiation for the entire gestation period showed decreases in the number of the germ cells, which were not statistically significant or only marginally significant at most. Further investigations on the effects of LDR irradiation in utero using more sensitive methods are necessary.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.