It is well established that injected Thorotrast is deposited in the liver, spleen, bone marrow, and lymph nodes, but accumulations in organs with lower macrophage activity have previously been given little attention. In this work, neutron activation analysis has been used to investigate concentrations of thorium in autopsy samples taken at sites of major and minor deposition in 24 Thorotrast patients. In the latter category, the highest values were found in the testis [40 X 10-6 g/g(wet)], followed by those in the adrenal gland, gallbladder, lung, and pancreas. The resulting α-particle dose rates (mGy/year) are tentatively estimated to be 8.5 to the testis, 5.5 to the gallbladder, and 5.3 to the lung. These results may be relevant to the residual excess mortality among Thorotrast patients after diseases of the principal organs of deposition have been excluded; they also support previous indications that thorium deposited in pulmonary tissues is responsible for an important component of the total dose to the lung. In another context, our data may bear on the connection, postulated elsewhere, between exposure to α-particle emitters and elevated incidence of leukemia in the children of workers engaged in the reprocessing of nuclear fuel.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging