It has been proposed that the development of diabetic nephropathy is caused in large part by oxidative stress. We previously showed that continuous exposure of mice to low-dose-rate γ radiation enhances antioxidant activity. Here, we studied the ameliorative effect of continuous whole-body irradiation with low-dose-rate γ rays on diabetic nephropathy. Ten-week-old female db/db mice, an experimental model for type II diabetes, were irradiated with low-dose-rate γ rays from 10 weeks of age throughout their lives. Nephropathy was studied by histological observation and biochemical analysis of serum and urine. Antioxidant activities in kidneys were determined biochemically. Continuous low-dose-rate γ radiation significantly increases life span in db/db mice. Three of 24 irradiated mice were free of glucosuria after 80 weeks of irradiation. Histological studies of kidney suggest that low-dose irradiation increases the number of normal capillaries in glomeruli. Antioxidant activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and glutathione are significantly increased in kidneys of irradiated db/db mice. Continuous low-dose-rate γ irradiation ameliorates diabetic nephropathy and increases life span in db/db mice through the activation of renal antioxidants. These findings have noteworthy implications for radiation risk estimation of non-cancer diseases as well as for the clinical application of low-dose-rate γ radiation for diabetes treatment.
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Vol. 176 • No. 3