Biokinetics of systemically distributed 60Co in the rat: an experimental model useful in evaluating medical countermeasures for internal contamination

Health Phys. 2012 Oct;103(4):474-83. doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e31826248d1.


LBERI, a member of the Medical Countermeasures to Radiologic Threats (MCART) consortium funded by NIAID, was tasked to develop biokinetic models for the distribution of radionuclide threats using the most likely routes of incorporation in both small and large animals. In this paper, the biokinetics of systemically administered soluble (60)Co have been examined. Male and female jugular-vein-catheterized (JVC) F344 rats received intravenous (IV) doses of 11.2 kBq of (60)CoCl2. The distribution of the radiocobalt was followed for 28 d with tissue sampling done at 1 and 4 h, and at 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 28 d. Urine and feces were collected daily. Tissues and excreta were analyzed by gamma pulse height analysis. Within 8 d, 93% of the cobalt was eliminated from the body, primarily though urine. The highest tissue burdens were found in the liver, gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and muscle shortly after administration. These tissues cleared quickly, so that by the conclusion of the 28-d study, less than 3% of the injected dose remained in the body. The results are comparable to published literature values for tissue content of (60)Co and for excretion patterns up to 30 d after injection. These results will provide the data needed to construct a biokinetic model for the unperturbed biokinetics of (60)Co in rats, which will subsequently be used to evaluate the impact of administered decorporating agents on organ radiation doses. The animal model described in this paper is representative of that used for other routes of radionuclide administration, such as inhalation, ingestion, and wound contamination, that have been studied at LBERI in support of the MCART and NIAID programs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes / adverse effects*
  • Cobalt Radioisotopes / pharmacokinetics*
  • Decontamination / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Organ Specificity
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / etiology*
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / prevention & control
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred F344
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Whole-Body Counting*


  • Cobalt Radioisotopes