Radionuclide activity and the immune system functioning in residents of radiation contaminated areas

  • V. L. Sokolenko Bohdan Khmelnytsky Chercasy State University
  • S. V. Sokolenko Bohdan Khmelnytsky Chercasy State University
Keywords: radiation contamination, stress, cortisol, immunosuppression


The objective of this research is to assess the relation of radioactive contamination degree to immune system functioning, in the absence or presence of additional potential immunosuppressants. To achieve the objective, during the period of 1995–2015 we examined 250 people, students of Cherkasy State University, who lived in the areas of enhanced radiation monitoring before. Also we evaluated the additional impact of the emotional stress caused by examinations on examined students. Indicators of cellular immunity were determined by immunophenotyping and dyeing using Romanowsky-Giemsa method. The level of immunoglobulins in blood serum was determined by radial immunodiffusion (Mancini method). The level of cortisol in blood serum was determined by immunoenzyme method. We have found that in absence of the emotional stress among residents of the areas contaminated with radionuclides, cortisol level remained at the upper limit of homeostatic norm. There is an average positive correlation between the activity of radionuclides in the territories of residence and the level of cortisol. There are marked average positive correlations between the activity of radionuclides and the level of neutrophils, and low positive correlations with the levels of IgG and IgM in blood serum. Average negative correlations between the activity of radionuclides and the following parameters are also observed: absolute and relative number of functionally mature T-lymphocytes with phenotype CD3+, absolute and relative number of their helper subpopulation CD4+, absolute and relative number of natural killer cells with phenotype CD16+; and strong negative correlations with immunoregulatory index CD4+/CD8+. Cortisol level shows the similar correlation with the same parameters, but correlation coefficient is lower. Under conditions of additional stress, caused by emotional load during the examinations, cortisol level significantly increases. This enhanced previously discovered correlations and revealed new ones: average negative correlations between radionuclide activity / cortisol level and expression of pan-T cell marker CD5, medium positive correlations with absolute and relative number of suppressor T-lymphocytes with phenotype CD8+, correlation with the level of serum IgG changes from positive to negative. Additional short-term stress factor combined with chronic influence of low doses of radiation increases the dependence of immunosuppression, caused by radiation contamination of the areas where examined students live, and causes failures in the work of compensatory mechanisms, particularly at the level of serum immunoglobulin products. 


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How to Cite
Sokolenko, V., & Sokolenko, S. (2015). Radionuclide activity and the immune system functioning in residents of radiation contaminated areas. Regulatory Mechanisms in Biosystems, 6(2), 93-96.