Following the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident, radiation effects on nonhuman biota in the contaminated areas have been a great concern. The induction of chromosomal aberrations in splenic lymphocytes of small Japanese field mice (Apodemus argenteus) and house mice (Mus musculus) inhabiting Fukushima Prefecture was investigated. In mice inhabiting the slightly contaminated area, the average frequency of dicentric chromosomes was similar to that seen in mice inhabiting a noncontaminated control area. In contrast, mice inhabiting the moderately and heavily contaminated areas showed a significant increase in the average frequencies of dicentric chromosomes. Total absorbed dose rate was estimated to be approximately 1 mGy d(-1) and 3 mGy d(-1) in the moderately and heavily contaminated areas, respectively. Chromosomal aberrations tended to roughly increase with dose rate. Although theoretically, the frequency of chromosomal aberrations was considered proportional to the absorbed dose, chromosomal aberrations in old mice (estimated median age 300 days) did not increase with radiation dose at the same rate as that observed in young mice (estimated median age 105 days).
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