Distribution of 239Pu in the skeleton of the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) between 15 and 50 months after injection

Int J Radiat Biol Relat Stud Phys Chem Med. 1987 Apr;51(4):707-21. doi: 10.1080/09553008414552231.


The macroscopic and microscopic distribution of intramuscularly injected, essentially monomeric, 239Pu was studied in the skeleton of the adult tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri). Data for the period between 15 and 50 months after injection are presented and compared with the data from earlier time points. Between 83 and 500 days after injection the nuclide content and the wet weight of the skeleton decreased to a constant level at about 55 per cent of the maximum values. The microscopic distribution has been analysed in distal femora, proximal humerus, proximal tibia and lumbar vertebra over the whole observation time; additionally at some selected time points proximal femur, femur shaft, distal humerus and distal tibia were analysed. The initial endosteal surface activity ranged from 3.8 to 5.3 Bq/cm2 and decreased to a minimum at about 1000 days after injection and increased thereafter. A similar behaviour was found for the dose rate near bone surfaces which was initially about 0.075 Gy/day on endosteal surfaces. In the deep bone and the deep marrow the dose rate was negligible, about 0.008 Gy/day and 0.001 Gy/day, respectively. The average cumulative dose 1500 days after injection was about 67 Gy on the endosteum, six times greater than the cumulative dose calculated from the mean concentration of plutonium in the whole skeleton. All values are normalized to an injected activity of 37 kBq/kg body weight. The tupaia data are discussed in relation to the available data from monkeys, dogs and rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Bone and Bones / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Neoplasms, Radiation-Induced / etiology
  • Osteosarcoma / etiology
  • Plutonium / metabolism*
  • Time Factors
  • Tupaia


  • Plutonium