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Evaluation of Reproductive Function for Patients with Chronic Radiation Sickness

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The reproductive function or the function of population reproduction on which the birth of viable offspring depends implies normally functioning parental endocrine system, primarily gonadal glands, marriage, conception, gestation and delivery of normal children. Reproductive system is believed to be one of the body systems which show the highest sensitivity to ionizing radiation. It is stated in the ICRP recommendations addressing deterministic radiation effects that exposure doses of 0.15 Gy to male gonads and of 0.65 Gy to female gonads may result in a transient sterility, while in acute exposure at doses of 2-3 Gy persistent sterility is observed. Atrophy of ovaries associated with X-ray irradiation at significant doses was registered in experimental studies as early as the beginning of the XX century. More recent elaborate experiments in animals and clinical observations have clearly demonstrated that ionizing radiation causes degenerative and atrophic changes in the genital glands. Similar to primary ovarian follicles, the spermatogenic epithelium consists of actively dividing cells, and this feature of the tissues pre-determines the prevalence of direct effects of radiation injury, proportional to exposure rates. Genetic radiation effects associated with germentative cells lead to an increase in the number of individuals with chromosome and gene pathology among the offspring of exposed parents. Registration of genotypical manifestations of this pathology presents considerable difficulties both because of complexity of methods, and the need to catch a rare phenomenon in a numerically limited population composing the offspring of exposed residents. That is why, in order to be able to form an idea about the injury to the reproductive function inflicted by radiation exposure, the phylogenetic approach is most commonly taken, i.e., recourse is made to the analysis of the phenotypical manifestations of the pathologic condition.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Radiobiology
  • Radioactivity, Radioactive Wastes and Fission Products

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