Emerging issues in radiogenic cataracts and cardiovascular disease
In 2011, the International Commission on Radiological Protection issued a statement on tissue reactions (formerly termed non-stochastic or deterministic effects) to recommend lowering the threshold for cataracts and the occupational equivalent dose limit for the crystalline lens of the eye. Furthermore, this statement was the first to list circulatory disease (cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease) as a health hazard of radiation exposure and to assign its threshold for the heart and brain. These changes have stimulated various discussions and may have impacts on some radiation workers, such as those in the medical sector. This paper considers emerging issues associated with cataracts and cardiovascular disease. For cataracts, topics dealt with herein include (i) the progressive nature, stochastic nature, target cells and trigger events of lens opacification, (ii) roles of lens protein denaturation, oxidative stress, calcium ions, tumor suppressors and DNA repair factors in cataractogenesis, (iii) dose rate effect, radiation weighting factor, and classification systems for cataracts, and (iv) estimation of the lens dose in clinical settings. Topics for cardiovascular disease include experimental animal models, relevant surrogate markers, latency period, target tissues, and roles of inflammation and cellular senescence. Future research needs are also discussed.
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