Mitochondrial DNA deletions in tissues of mice after ionizing radiation exposure

Purpose: The objective of the study was to estimate the presence of large mtDNA deletions in brain and spleen tissues of mice four months after exposure to 2 and 5 Gy.

Materials and methods: The male BALB/c mice underwent X-ray total-body acute radiation. Four months after irradiation, the mice were decapitated, and the samples of spleen and brain tissues were examined. A long-distance PCR was used to detect mtDNA deletions and their levels in samples of brain and spleen tissues.

Results: Four months after irradiation the levels of mtDNA deletions in the brain and spleen tissues were higher in animals exposed to 5 Gy than in animals at an irradiation dose of 2 Gy and in control mice. The levels of deletions in the mice brain tissues were higher 4 months than 1 month after X-ray exposure to both doses (2 and 5 Gy). In spleen tissues, a higher level of deletions was observed only at an irradiation dose of 5 Gy.

Conclusions: Our data have shown that ionizing radiation induces an increase of mtDNA copies with deletions in tissues of mice four months after the post-irradiation period. The level of deletions depends on the animal age, type of tissue, irradiation dose and length of the post-irradiation period.