Early radiation response of the canine heart and lung

Radiat Res. 1991 Jan;125(1):34-40.


In this study three groups of four adult beagle dogs were irradiated with a 12-Gy single dose to the thorax. The fields used were the entire thorax, the entire thorax with a heart block in place, and the heart with one-third of the lung volume. The response of the lung was evaluated by cellular and biochemical analysis of sequential bronchoalveolar lavage fluids, blood gas analysis, physical examination, and histopathology. Sparing a small volume of lung improved survival. Cardiac function was evaluated by right heart catheterization, echocardiography, physical exam, and histopathology. Pulmonary artery pressure was increased in all dogs, mean systemic artery pressure was decreased in all dogs, and no difference could be shown among the groups. These effects are likely secondary to a reduced pulmonary capillary volume. Stroke volume was significantly deceased in dogs that had their hearts included in the field but not in dogs with their hearts shielded. This effect was not thought to be secondary to lung injury. The influence of lung irradiation on cardiac function was limited to pulmonary hypertension. Pulmonary hypertension may be enhanced by the release of vasoactive compounds. Pulmonary hypertension may contribute to radiation-induced heart failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / chemistry
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • Dogs
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Heart / radiation effects*
  • Heart Rate / radiation effects
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Lung / radiation effects*
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / physiopathology*
  • Respiration / radiation effects