The developing mammalian fetus is thought to be highly sensitive to ionizing radiation. However, dose, dose-rate relationships are not well established, especially the long term effects of protracted, low-dose exposure. A previous report (1) has indicated that bred beagle bitches exposed to daily doses of 5 to 35 R 60Co gamma rays throughout gestation can produce viable, seemingly normal offspring. Puppies irradiated in utero are distinguishable from controls only by their smaller size, dental abnormalities, and, in adulthood, by their inability to bear young.
We report here our preliminary microscopic evaluation of ovarian pathology in young pups continuously irradiated throughout gestation at daily (22 h/day) dose rates of either 0.4, 1.0, 2.5, or 5.0 R/day of gamma rays from an attenuated 60Co source. Pups from non-irradiated bitches served as controls. Experimental animals were evaluated clinically and hematologically (control + 5.0 R/day pups) at regular intervals.