Now the first study of its kind in 50 years is providing new insights into this phenomenon, called combined radiation injury (CRI).
Researchers at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine have shown how CRI causes the intestines to leak bacteria into surrounding tissue. The study also showed that radiation and burns have a synergistic effect that make them far more deadly when they act in combination.
The study is published in the October 2013 issue of the journal Shock.
Findings could lead to new treatments for victims, as well as pretreatments for first responders, said senior author Elizabeth Kovacs, PhD. First author is Stewart Carter, MD.
“The use of nuclear technology and the potential for its implementation in warfare and terrorism highlight the importance of this study,” researchers concluded. “Insight into the effects of combined radiation injury on the gut will help direct management of survivors of nuclear disaster.”
Normally, cells that line the lumen of the intestine prevent bacteria and bacterial products from leaking out. The cells are held together by “tight junctions.” Radiation can damage and kill these cells, and a burn injury can trigger an inflammatory response that breaks down tight junctions. This effectively opens up the protective lining, allowing bacterial products to leak out of the intestine. Such leaks can cause death by sepsis.
In the study, researchers found that combined radiation and thermal injury triggered 100 times greater leakage of bacteria across the intestinal lining than the leakage seen in control groups exposed to radiation alone, burn alone, or no injury at all.
“To our knowledge, we are the first to present gastrointestinal findings of this nature in any CRI model, with the exception of early studies on CRI in the 1960s,” the researchers wrote.
Kovacs added: “We hope we never will have to respond to a nuclear disaster. But if such a disaster were to occur, our findings could be part of our preparedness.”
Kovacs is director of research and Carter is a research resident in the Burn and Shock Trauma Research Institute of Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Other co-authors, all at Loyola, are Anita Zahs, PhD; Jessica Palmer, MS; Lu Wang, MD; Luis Ramirez; and Richard L. Gamelli, MD, FACS. Gamelli is director of the Burn and Shock Trauma Research Institute.
The study is titled “Intestinal Barrier Disruption as a Cause of Mortality in Combined Radiation and Burn Injury.” It is funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Dr. Ralph and Marian C. Falk Medical Research Trust.
The Loyola University Chicago Health Sciences Division (HSD) advances interprofessional, multidisciplinary, and transformative education and research while promoting service to others through stewardship of scientific knowledge and preparation of tomorrow's leaders. The HSD is located on the Health Sciences Campus in Maywood, Illinois. It includes the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, the Stritch School of Medicine, the biomedical research programs of the Graduate School, and several other institutes and centers encouraging new research and interprofessional education opportunities across all of Loyola University Chicago. The faculty and staff of the HSD bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong commitment to seeing that Loyola's health sciences continue to excel and exceed the standard for academic and research excellence. For more on the HSD, visit LUC.edu/hsd.
Jim Ritter | EurekAlert!
The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
20.01.2017 | Awards Funding
20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.01.2017 | Life Sciences