Assessment of chromosome aberrations in large Japanese field mice ( Apodemus speciosus) in Namie Town, Fukushima

Int J Radiat Biol. 2022;98(6):1159-1167. doi: 10.1080/09553002.2020.1787548. Epub 2020 Jul 20.


Purpose: After the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident in Japan on March 11 2011, the surroundings became contaminated with radionuclides. To understand the possible biological effects after chronic low dose-rate radiation in contaminated areas of Fukushima, we assessed the effects in large Japanese field mice (Apodemus speciosus) by means of chromosome aberration analysis.

Materials and methods: We collected A. speciosus in five sites around Namie Town, Fukushima (contaminated areas) and in two sites in Hirosaki City, Aomori (control areas, 350 km north of FDNPP) from autumn 2011 to 2013. The number of mice captured and ambient dose-rates were as follows: high (n = 11, 10.1-30.0 µGy h-1), moderate (n = 10, 5.7-15.6 µGy h-1), low (n = 12, 0.23-1.14 µGy h-1) and control (n = 20, 0.04-0.07 µGy h-1). After spleen extraction from rodents, spleen cell culture was performed to obtain metaphase spreads. Chromosome aberrations were assessed on Giemsa-stained metaphase spreads.

Results: Although the mice in the contaminated areas were chronically exposed, there was no radiation-specific chromosome aberrations observed, such as dicentric chromosomes and rings. Some structural aberrations such as gaps and breaks were observed, and these frequencies decreased annually in mice from Namie Town.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that chromosome aberration analysis is useful to evaluate and monitor radiation effects in wild animals.

Keywords: Fukushima; chromosome aberration; large Japanese field mice; spleen cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arvicolinae
  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • Fukushima Nuclear Accident*
  • Mice
  • Murinae / genetics
  • Nuclear Power Plants
  • Radiation Monitoring*


  • Cesium Radioisotopes