A follow-up study aimed primarily at investigating late radiation effects on the genital organs and eye lenses was performed between 1999 and 2010 on three individuals who suffered from acute radiation sickness in China. The examination included a medical history, a physical examination, ultrasonography, laboratory analysis, and an ophthalmologic examination. In Case 1, amenorrhea occurred after exposure to a 60Co source. The uterus and ovaries were significantly narrowed in the second year following exposure. The estradiol level decreased significantly during the first 3 y; progesterone was lowest in the second year; and levels of follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone increased, especially in the first year. The lenses in both eyes appeared opaque 6 mo after the exposure, resulting in a gradual deterioration in visual acuity. In Case 2 (8 y old), the levels of testosterone and estradiol were normal. In Case 3, the levels of testosterone and estradiol were also normal, but the sperm count was 0 from 6 mo to 1 y, and the proportion of abnormal sperm was increased from 3–5 y after the accident. The lenses in Case 3 also began to turn opaque in the ninth year after the accident. In Case 1, the ovarian function was reduced, leading to amenorrhea and early menopause. In Case 3, the sperm count was reduced and the number of abnormal sperm was increased due to testicular damage by radiation. Radiation-induced cataracts occurred in both Case 1 and Case 3.
*Institute of Radiation Medicine, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College; First Clinical Department of Medical Emergency Response Center for Nuclear Accident, Ministry of Health, 288 Nanjing Road, Tianjin 300020, China; †Department of Anatomy, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300070, China; ‡Institute of Occupational Disease Prevention of Henan, Zhengzhou 450052, Henan Province, China.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.
For correspondence contact: Department of Anatomy, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300070, China, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Manuscript accepted 4 June 2014)