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Expression of blood serum proteins and lymphocyte differentiation clusters after chronic occupational exposure to ionizing radiation


Scherthan,  H.
Dept. of Human Molecular Genetics (Head: Hans-Hilger Ropers), Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Max Planck Society;
Bundeswehr Institute of Radiobiology, University of Ulm, Munich, Germany ;

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Rybkina, V. L., Azizova, T. V., Scherthan, H., Meineke, V., Doerr, H., Adamova, G. V., et al. (2014). Expression of blood serum proteins and lymphocyte differentiation clusters after chronic occupational exposure to ionizing radiation. Radiation and Environmental Biophysics, 53(4), 659-670. doi:10.1007/s00411-014-0556-3.

This study aimed to assess effects of chronic occupational exposure on immune status in Mayak workers chronically exposed to ionizing radiation (IR). The study cohort consists of 77 workers occupationally exposed to external gamma-rays at total dose from 0.5 to 3.0 Gy (14 individuals) and workers with combined exposure (external gamma-rays at total dose range 0.7-5.1 Gy and internal alpha-radiation from incorporated plutonium with a body burden of 0.3-16.4 kBq). The control group consists of 43 age- and sex-matched individuals who never were exposed to IR, never involved in any cleanup operations following radiation accidents and never resided at contaminated areas. Enzyme-linked immunoassay and flow cytometry were used to determine the relative concentration of lymphocytes and proteins. The concentrations of T-lymphocytes, interleukin-8 and immunoglobulins G were decreased in external gamma-exposed workers relative to control. Relative concentrations of NKT-lymphocytes, concentrations of transforming growth factor-beta, interferon gamma, immunoglobulins A, immunoglobulins M and matrix proteinase-9 were higher in this group as compared with control. Relative concentrations of T-lymphocytes and concentration of interleukin-8 were decreased, while both the relative and absolute concentration of natural killers, concentration of immunoglobulins A and M and matrix proteinase-9 were increased in workers with combined exposure as compared to control. An inverse linear relation was revealed between absolute concentration of T-lymphocytes, relative and absolute concentration of T-helpers cells, concentration of interferon gamma and total absorbed dose from external gamma-rays in exposed workers. For workers with incorporated plutonium, there was an inverse linear relation of absolute concentration of T-helpers as well as direct linear relation of relative concentration of NKT-lymphocytes to total absorbed red bone marrow dose from internal alpha-radiation. In all, chronic occupational IR exposure of workers induced a depletion of immune cells in peripheral blood of the individuals involved.