Objective: Serum lipid and electrolyte imbalances are common in critically ill patients undergoing radiation therapy. Although multiple disease states and medication may be responsible for the development of these disorders, the aim of this research is to sequentially document the effect of total body radiation on body function utilizing the sequential changes in the serum lipids, electrolytes and protein in rats.
Methods: Serum protein and lipids contents were assessed using kits while electrolytes were assessed with flame photometry in rats exposed to total body irradiations of 1.27 Gy/min in cumulative doses to the fourth irradiation at five-day intervals.
Results: Total cholesterol and triacylglycerols serum levels were significantly reduced by irradiation (p < 0.05). No significant differences between experimental and control groups for HDL-C serum levels were detected. Serum electrolyte concentration remained within the normal range after each total body irradiation. Sodium, bicarbonate and chloride were significantly (p < 0.05) higher than control while potassium and creatinine were significantly reduced after the first irradiation only. Sodium/potassium ratio was significantly (p < 0.05) elevated. Serum protein was significantly (p < 0.05) elevated with increasing radiation.
Conclusion: There are subtle but significant changes in serum lipids, electrolytes and protein after total body irradiation of normal rats. These variations could be due to non-specific stress reactions; as such, they are important markers in radiation induced injury diagnosis.