A1 Journal article (refereed)
The effect of chronic low-dose environmental radiation on organ mass of bank voles in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (2020)

Kivisaari, K., Boratyński, Z., Lavrinienko, A., Kesäniemi, J., Lehmann, P., & Mappes, T. (2020). The effect of chronic low-dose environmental radiation on organ mass of bank voles in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. International Journal of Radiation Biology, 96(10), 1254-1262. https://doi.org/10.1080/09553002.2020.1793016

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Kivisaari, Kati; Boratyński, Zbyszek; Lavrinienko, Anton; Kesäniemi, Jenni; Lehmann, Philipp; Mappes, Tapio

Journal or series: International Journal of Radiation Biology

ISSN: 0955-3002

eISSN: 1362-3095

Publication year: 2020

Publication date: 13/07/2020

Volume: 96

Issue number: 10

Pages range: 1254-1262

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09553002.2020.1793016

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/72027


Purpose: Animals are exposed to environmental ionizing radiation (IR) externally through proximity to contaminated soil and internally through ingestion and inhalation of radionuclides. Internal organs can respond to radioactive contamination through physiological stress. Chronic stress can compromise the size of physiologically active organs, but studies on wild mammal populations are scarce. The effects of environmental IR contamination on organ masses was studied by using a wild rodent inhabiting the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ).
Material and Methods: The masses of brain, heart, kidney, spleen, liver and lung were assessed from bank voles (Myodes glareolus) captured from areas across radioactive contamination gradient within the CEZ. Relative organ masses were used to correct for the body mass of an individual.
Results: Results showed a significant negative correlation between IR level in the environment and relative brain and kidney mass. A significant positive correlation between IR and relative heart mass was also found. Principal component analysis (PCA) also suggested positive relationship between IR and relative spleen mass, however this relationship was not significant when spleen was analyzed separately. There was no apparent relationship between IR and relative liver or lung mass.
Conclusions: Results suggest that in the wild populations even low but chronic doses of IR can lead to changes in relative organ mass. The novelty of these result is showing that exposure to low doses can affect the organ masses in similar fashion as previously shown on high, acute, radiation doses. This data supports the hypothesis that wildlife might be more sensitive to IR than animals used in laboratory studies. However, more research is needed to rule out the other indirect effects such as radiosensitivity of the food sources or possible combined stress effects from e.g. infections.

Keywords: radiobiology; radioactive radiation; ionising radiation; internal organs; wildlife; Clethrionomys glareolus

Free keywords: Chernobyl; internal organs; Myodes glareolus; radiocesium; wild populations

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 14:56