Failure to detect immune deficiency in rats after prenatal or early postnatal irradiation

Int J Radiat Biol. 1989 Jan;55(1):7-14. doi: 10.1080/09553008914550021.


We have looked for medium-term sequelae in the immune system of rats that had been X-irradiated (0-2 Gy whole-body irradiation) during prenatal or early postnatal life. At an age of 8 weeks the histology of the spleen was normal, and so was the distribution of B and T lymphocytes. The serum immunoglobulin levels were not significantly altered, even when the different isotypes were considered. At an age of 10 weeks, the rats were immunized with a T-dependent or a T-independent dinitrophenylated-carrier antigen. Normal levels of specific antibodies were generated in all groups of animals injected with the T-independent antigen. The T-dependent response, in contrast, was higher in animals irradiated between day 6 and day 20 of gestation (but not in rats irradiated early after birth). This increase, however, was significant only for the IgM and IgG1 responses of some irradiated groups. Thus no medium-term immunodeficiency could be documented with the methods used. The alteration in a T-dependent response, however, points to a radiosensitive T regulatory mechanism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / immunology*
  • Antibody Formation / radiation effects
  • Fetus / radiation effects*
  • Immune System / radiation effects*
  • Immune Tolerance
  • Immunoglobulins / biosynthesis
  • Lymphoid Tissue / radiation effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains


  • Immunoglobulins