While lifespan studies provide basic information for estimating the risk of ionizing radiation, findings on the effect of low-dose/low-dose-rate irradiation on the lifespan of mammals are controversial. Here we evaluate the effect of continuous exposure to low-dose-rate γ radiation on the lifespan of mice with accelerated aging caused by mutation of the klotho gene. While control mice died within 80 days after birth, more than 10% of mice exposed continuously to 0.35 or 0.7 or mGy/h γ radiation from 40 days after birth survived for more than 80 days. Two of 50 mice survived for more than 100 days. Low-dose-rate irradiation significantly increased plasma calcium concentration in mutant mice, and concomitantly increased hepatic catalase activity. Although hepatic activity of superoxide dismutase in mutant mice decreased significantly compared to wild-type mice, continuous γ irradiation decreased the activity in mutant mice significantly. These results suggest that low-dose-rate ionizing radiation can prolong the lifespan of mice in certain settings.
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Vol. 179 • No. 6