Radiotherapy with sparsely ionizing photons is a cornerstone of successful cancer treatment. Age at time of exposure to radiation is known to influence biological outcomes for many end points. The effect of dose and age at exposure upon the occurrence of radiogenic cardiovascular disease is poorly understood. The goal of this work was to determine the response of maleWAG/RijCmcr rats at 6 months of age to gamma rays, and at 6 months or 6 weeks of age to X rays, using clinically relevant biomarkers of cardiovascular disease and kidney injury. Overall, there were significant radiation-induced effects on the levels of bicarbonate (P=0.0016), creatinine (P=0.0002), calcium (P = 0.0009), triglycerides (P = 0.0269) and blood urea nitrogen, albumin, protein, AST, alkaline phosphatase, total cholesterol and HDL (all P < 0.0001). Of those variables with a significant radiation-dose effect, there were significant modifications by age at time of exposure for bicarbonate (P = 0.0033), creatinine (P = 0.0015), AST (P = 0.0040), total cholesterol (P = 0.0006) and blood urea nitrogen, calcium, albumin, protein, alkaline phosphatase and HDL (all P < 0.0001). Cardiac perivascular collagen content was significantly increased in rats that were 8.0 Gy X-ray irradiated at 6 weeks of age (P < 0.047) but not at 6 months of age. While systemic blood pressure was elevated in both cohorts after 8.0 Gy X-ray irradiation (compared to agematched sham-irradiated controls), the magnitude of the increase above baseline was greater in the younger rats (P < 0.05). These findings indicate that dose and age at time of irradiation determine the timeline and severity of cardiac and renal injury.
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