Effects of ionizing radiation on the cardiovascular system

    Research output


    Traditionally, non-cancer diseases are not considered as health risks following exposure to low doses of ionizing radiation. Indeed, non-cancer diseases are classified as deterministic tissue reactions, which are characterized by a threshold dose. It is judged that below an absorbed dose of 100 mGy, no clinical relevant tissue damage occurs, forming the basis for the current radiation protection system concerning non-cancer effects. Recent epidemiological findings point, however, to an excess risk of non-cancer diseases following exposure to lower doses than previously thought. The evidence is the most sound for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and cataract. Due to limited statistical power the dose-risk relationship is undetermined below 0.5 Gy, but if this relationship proves to be without a threshold it may have considerable impact on current low dose health risk estimates. In this review, we describe the CVD risk related to low doses of ionizing radiation, the clinical manifestation and pathology of radiation-induced CVD, and the importance of the endothelium models in CVD research as a way forward to complement the epidemiological data with the underlying biological and molecular mechanisms. In addition, with our research we aim to contribute to the identification of potent countermeasures as well as a set of predictive biomarkers for radiation-induced cardiovascular disorders. As such we strive for a better life quality for ionizing radiation exposed people.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages14
    JournalAnnalen van de Belgische Vereniging voor Sralingsbescherming
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - 1 Dec 2017

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