Image: According to a new study, even low doses of ionizing radiation can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases (Photo courtesy of Getty Images).
The results of a new study indicate that even low levels of X-Rays can harm the human cardiovascular system.
The researchers found that even low doses of ionizing radiation, around 0.5 Gy, from recurring CT imaging scans for example are associated with a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular damage, even as long as decades after radiation exposure.
The study was published online in the July 11, 2017, issue of the International Journal of Radiation Biology by researchers at the Helmholtz Zentrum München, German Research Center for Environmental Health (Munich, Germany).
The researchers found several permanent alterations in human coronary artery endothelial cells as a result of a 0.5 Gy radiation dose that could negatively affect essential cell functions. The radiation causes the cells to produce less nitric oxide, essential for a number of physiological processes in the cells, but more Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that can damage proteins and DNA. The researchers also found that the cells were aging prematurely, and are less able to degrade oxidised proteins.
The researchers found that in their cell cultures these changes occurred only after one or two weeks because these cells divide more slowly than others. This is equivalent call to cell division times of several years in a living organism. The study authors conclude that these molecular changes indicate long-term premature dysfunction and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease following exposure to relatively low radiation doses.
Helmholtz Zentrum München