In utero exposure to ionizing radiation and metabolic regulation: perspectives for future multi- and trans-generation effects studies

Stéphane Grison, Ignacia I.I.I. Braga-Tanaka, Sarah Baatout, Dmitry Klokov

    Research outputpeer-review


    Purpose: The radiation protection community has been particularly attentive to the risks of delayed effects on offspring from low dose or low dose-rate exposures to ionizing radiation. Despite this, the current epidemiologic studies and scientific data are still insufficient to provide the necessary evidence for improving risk assessment guidelines. This literature review aims to inform future studies on multigenerational and transgenerational effects. It primarily focuses on animal studies involving in utero exposure and discusses crucial elements for interpreting the results. These elements include in utero exposure scenarios relative to the developmental stages of the embryo/fetus, and the primary biological mechanisms responsible for transmitting heritable or hereditary effects to future generations. The review addresses several issues within the contexts of both multigenerational and transgenerational effects, with a focus on hereditary perspectives. Conclusions: Knowledge consolidation in the field of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) has led us to propose a new study strategy. This strategy aims to address the transgenerational effects of in utero exposure to low dose and low dose-rate radiation. Within this concept, there is a possibility that disruption of epigenetic programming in embryonic and fetal cells may occur. This disruption could lead to metabolic dysfunction, which in turn may cause abnormal responses to future environmental challenges, consequently increasing disease risk. Lastly, we discuss methodological limitations in our studies. These limitations are related to cohort size, follow-up time, model radiosensitivity, and analytical techniques. We propose scientific and analytical strategies for future research in this field.

    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages15
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
    StatePublished - 5 Jan 2024

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
    • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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