Mitchel, R. E. J., Burchart, P. and Wyatt, H. Fractionated, Low-Dose-Rate Ionizing Radiation Exposure and Chronic Ulcerative Dermatitis in Normal and Trp53 Heterozygous C57BL/6 Mice. Radiat. Res. 168, 716–724 (2007).
The influence of low-dose-rate chronic radiation exposure and adaptive responses on non-cancer diseases is largely unknown. We examined the effect of low-dose/low-dose-rate fractionated or single exposures on spontaneous chronic ulcerative dermatitis in Trp53 normal or heterozygous female C57BL/6 mice. From 6 weeks of age, mice were exposed 5 days/week to single daily doses (0.33 mGy, 0.7 mGy/h) totaling 48, 97 or 146 mGy over 30, 60 or 90 weeks, and other Trp53 /− mice were exposed to a single dose of 10 mGy (0.5 mGy/min) at 20 weeks of age. The 90-week exposure produced an adaptive response, decreasing both disease frequency and severity in Trp53 / mice and extending the life span of older animals euthanized due to severe disease. The 30- or 60-week exposures had no significant protective or detrimental effect. In contrast, the chronic, fractionated exposure for 30 or 60 weeks significantly increased the frequency and severity of the disease in older Trp53 /− mice, significantly decreasing the life span of the animals required to be euthanized for disease. Similarly, the single 10-mGy exposure also increased disease frequency in older animals. However, the chronic, fractionated exposure for 90 weeks prevented these detrimental effects, with disease frequency and severity not different from unexposed controls. We conclude that very low-dose fractionated exposures can induce a protective adaptive response in both Trp53 normal and heterozygous mice, but that a lower threshold level of exposure, similar in both cases, must first be passed. In mice with reduced Trp53 functionality, doses below the threshold can produce detrimental effects.