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Biological effects of

radiation and the need for


radioprotectors



Dhanya KC

Ionizing Radiation
Higher energy electromagnetic waves (gamma) or
heavy particles (beta and alpha).
High enough energy to pull electron from orbit.

Non-ionizing Radiation
Lower energy electromagnetic waves.
Not enough energy to pull electron from orbit, but
can excite the electron.
Visible light, microwave


Ionizing radiation damage the cell constituents either
directly or indirectly (generation of aqueous free radicals
and related reactive species by radiolysis of water)
Effects of radiation on biological system
Deterministic
Effect
Stochastic
Effect
BIOLOGICAL
Dominant
Recessive
SOMATIC
GENETIC
(all stochastic)
Partial exposure
- Hematopoietic
- I ntestinal
- Skin
- Lung
Whole body exposure
- BM, GI and CNS
syndrome
Carcinogenic effect
Hereditary effect
Molecular Responses to Ionizing
Radiation
DNA: The primary cellular target
Gene Mutations in Somatic Cells
Genomic Instability
Cell Cycle Effects
Biological membranes-the alternative target

Bystander Effects

Biological effects of radiation exposure

Two categories - Deterministic effects
Stochastic effects.

Deterministic Effects

Hemopoietic Syndrome

Gastrointestinal Syndrome

Central Nervous Syndrome

Other Acute Effects - Skin, Eyes, etc.

Biological effects of radiation exposure
Radiation
Syndrome
Organs
Affected
Sensitivity
Radiation
Dose (Gy)
Hematopoietic
Blood forming
organs
Most sensitive 2-7
Gastrointestinal
Gastrointestin
al system
Very sensitive 6<
Central Nervous
System
Brain and
muscles
Least sensitive 20<
Testes temporary sterility in men 0.3
ovaries
temporary sterility in
women
3


Eyes acute conjunctivitis Few Gy
Biological effects of radiation exposure

Stochastic effects

Cataract

Damage to immune system

Cancer

Heredity effects



Uses of Radiation
In medicine as diagnostic X-rays
Radiopharmaceuticals for diagnosis and treatment
Radiation therapy for cancer
Sterilizing medical equipment and food products, etc.
In locating oil and minerals in the earth
Processing semiconductor chips for computers
Nuclear power reactors for energy generation
Determining age of materials through radiocarbon dating

Widespread use of radiation - increased the exposure of living
beings to radiation
(diagnosis, therapy, industry, energy sector, air and space
travel, nuclear accidents and nuclear terror attacks, etc.)

For beneficial use of radiation, the risks of radiation exposures are to
be restricted.

Basic concepts of radioprotection
Time
Distance
Shielding
Radioprotector - a chemical or a drug that reduces the
damaging effects of radiation when administered to living
organisms.
Protect personnel from radiation-induced lethality and
chronic diseases

Manage nuclear battlefield personnel exposed to
ionizing radiation

Protect personnel involved in clean-up operations in
nuclear accidents

Attenuate radiation effect in nuclear/chemical or
nuclear/biological exposure scenarios

Need for a Radioprotector
Radioprotector

Compounds/Formulations - reduce radiation
damages in normal tissues.
Clinically accepted molecule: Amifostine
Slightly toxic at relevant doses.
Ideal radioprotector is still an elusive dream.
Need for a non-toxic, over the counter, cheap,
orally administerable radioprotector.
Plant extracts, phytoceuticals, ayurvedic
formulations, etc. are being screened.
Radioprotectors are thought to protect cells by

scavenging free radicals

producing hypoxia

temporarily inhibiting DNA synthesis, allowing
time for the repair enzymes to complete repair
of damage

forming disulphide bonds in proteins, thereby
strengthening them