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Lack of impact of radiation on blood physiology biomarkers of Chernobyl tree frogs
Frontiers in Zoology  (IF3.172),  Pub Date : 2021-06-29, DOI: 10.1186/s12983-021-00416-x
Pablo Burraco, Jean-Marc Bonzom, Clément Car, Karine Beaugelin-Seiller, Sergey Gashchak, Germán Orizaola

Human actions have altered natural ecosystems worldwide. Among the many pollutants released to the environment, ionizing radiation can cause severe damage at different molecular and functional levels. The accident in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (1986) caused the largest release of ionizing radiation to the environment in human history. Here, we examined the impact of the current exposure to ionizing radiation on blood physiology biomarkers of adult males of the Eastern tree frog (Hyla orientalis) inhabiting within and outside the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. We measured the levels of eight blood parameters (sodium, potassium, chloride, ionized calcium, total carbon dioxide, glucose, urea nitrogen, and anion gap), physiological markers of homeostasis, as well as of liver and kidney function. Levels of blood physiology biomarkers did not vary in function of the current exposure of tree frogs to ionizing radiation within the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Physiological blood levels were similar in frogs inhabiting Chernobyl (both in areas with medium-high or low radiation) than in tree frogs living outside Chernobyl exposed only to background radiation levels. The observed lack of effects of current radiation levels on blood biomarkers can be a consequence of the low levels of radiation currently experienced by Chernobyl tree frogs, but also to the fact that our sampling was restricted to active breeding males, i.e. potentially healthy adult individuals. Despite the clear absence of effects of current radiation levels on physiological blood parameters in tree frogs, more research covering different life stages and ecological scenarios is still needed to clarify the impact of ionizing radiation on the physiology, ecology, and dynamics of wildlife inhabiting radioactive-contaminated areas.