A population of Clethrionomys glareolus (bank vole) from a highly radioactive area within the Chornobyl, Ukraine exclusion zone was sampled in June 1997 and in June and October 1998. Internal radiation doses from radiocesium were estimated to be as high as 8 rads/d. Total dose, which takes into account the internal dose from radiostrontium and the surrounding environment, was estimated to be 15 to 20 rads/d. In contrast, individuals from a reference population lying outside of the exclusion zone registered negligible levels of contamination. We used the micronucleus test in a double-blind study to analyze blood samples from 58 individuals. We scored more than 600,000 polychromatic erythrocytes (PCEs) but could not reject the null hypothesis that the frequency of micronucleated PCEs in voles exposed to radiation was equal to the frequency in unexposed voles. Results of our study stand in sharp contrast to earlier reports of increased frequencies of micronuclei in rodents exposed to fallout of the Chornobyl accident, but with radiation doses that were orders of magnitude lower than those reported here. Radioresistance and experimental methods are possible explanations for these differences in the results.
- Clethrionomys glareolus
- Micronucleus test