In this study we analyzed the effect of chronic and low-dose-rate (LDR) radiation on spermatogenic cells of large Japanese field mice (Apodemus speciosus) after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) accident. In March 2014, large Japanese field mice were collected from two sites located in, and one site adjacent to, the FNPP ex-evacuation zone: Tanashio, Murohara and Akogi, respectively. Testes from these animals were analyzed histologically. External dose rate from radiocesium (combined 134Cs and 137Cs) in these animals at the sampling sites exhibited 21 μGy/day in Tanashio, 304–365 μGy/day in Murohara and 407–447 μGy/day in Akogi. In the Akogi group, the numbers of spermatogenic cells and proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-positive cells per seminiferous tubule were significantly higher compared to the Tanashio and Murohara groups, respectively. TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells tended to be detected at a lower level in the Murohara and Akogi groups compared to the Tanashio group. These results suggest that enhanced spermatogenesis occurred in large Japanese field mice living in and around the FNPP ex-evacuation zone. It remains to be elucidated whether this phenomenon, attributed to chronic exposure to LDR radiation, will benefit or adversely affect large Japanese field mice.
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Vol. 187 • No. 2