Short and long-term changes in social odor recognition and plasma cytokine levels following oxygen ( 16 o) ion radiation exposure

Carli B. Jones, Ami Mange, Lauren Granata, Benjamin Johnson, Robert D. Hienz, Catherine M. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Future long-duration space missions will involve travel outside of the Earth’s magnetosphere protection and will result in astronauts being exposed to high energy and charge (HZE) ions and protons. Exposure to this type of radiation can result in damage to the central nervous system and deficits in numerous cognitive domains that can jeopardize mission success. Social processing is a cognitive domain that is important for people living and working in groups, such as astronauts, but it has received little attention in terms of HZE ion exposure. In the current study, we assessed the effects of whole-body oxygen ion ( 16 O; 1000 MeV/n) exposure (1 or 10 cGy) on social odor recognition memory in male Long-Evans rats at one and six months following exposure. Radiation exposure did not affect rats’ preferences for a novel social odor experienced during Habituation at either time point. However, rats exposed to 10 cGy displayed short and long-term deficits in 24-h social recognition. In contrast, rats exposed to 1 cGy only displayed long-term deficits in 24-h social recognition. While an age-related decrease in Ki67+ staining (a marker of cell proliferation) was found in the subventricular zone, it was unaffected by radiation exposure. At one month following exposure, plasma KC/GRO (CXCL1) levels were elevated in the 1 cGy rats, but not in the 10 cGy rats, suggesting that peripheral levels of this cytokine could be associated with intact social recognition at earlier time points following radiation exposure. These results have important implications for long-duration missions and demonstrate that behaviors related to social processing could be negatively affected by HZE ion exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number339
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019


  • Cytokines
  • HZE ions
  • Memory
  • Rats
  • Social recognition
  • Space radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Short and long-term changes in social odor recognition and plasma cytokine levels following oxygen ( 16 o) ion radiation exposure'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this