Scanning Microscopy


Major sources of concern for manned space travel are the effects of high energy particle (HZE) radiation on various biological systems, and the consequences of major solar activity. To date, considerable attention has been directed toward HZE-induced alterations both on non-dividing systems, such as the retina, cornea and brain, and on dividing systems, such as the gut and testis. This paper is focused on the morphologically detectable late-occurring alterations in the distal lung, and toward a comparison of the changes with those induced by x -irradiation. Briefly, the salient alterations involve an increase in 1) the width of the septal walls and the capillary and alveolar basal laminae, and 2) the irregularity of the luminal surface of the capillaries, as exemplified by the presence of filipodial projections and blebbing. All alterations were focal in their localization, and no cells of any type (e.g., epithelial, endothelial or stromal) appeared to undergo damage, an observation quite unlike the cellular changes induced by x-irradiation.

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