Radiation-Induced Late Effects in Two Affected Individuals of the Lilo Radiation Accident
Radiation exposure leads to a risk for long-term deterministic and stochastic late effects. Two individuals exposed to protracted photon radiation in the radiological accident at the Lilo Military site in Georgia in 1997 received follow-up treatment and resection of several chronic radiation ulcers in the Bundeswehr Hospital Ulm, Germany, in 2003. Multi-parameter analysis revealed that spermatogenetic arrest and serum hormone levels in both patients had recovered compared to the status in 1997. However, we observed a persistence of altered T-cell ratios, increased ICAM1 and beta1-integrin expression, and aberrant bone marrow cells and lymphocytes with significantly increased translocations 6 years after the accident. This investigation thus identified altered end points still detectable years after the accident that suggest persistent genomic damage as well as epigenetic effects in these individuals, which may be associated with an elevated risk for the development of further late effects. Our observations further suggest the development of a chronic radiation syndrome and indicate follow-up parameters in radiation victims.