Effects of a 33-ion sequential beam galactic cosmic ray analog on male mouse behavior and evaluation of CDDO-EA as a radiation countermeasure

Frederico C. Kiffer, Krishna Luitel, Fionya H. Tran, Riya A. Patel, Catalina S. Guzman, Ivan Soler, Rui Xiao, Jerry W. Shay, Sanghee Yun, Amelia J. Eisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In long-term spaceflight, astronauts will face unique cognitive loads and social challenges which will be complicated by communication delays with Earth. It is important to understand the central nervous system (CNS) effects of deep spaceflight and the associated unavoidable exposure to galactic cosmic radiation (GCR). Rodent studies show single- or simple-particle combination exposure alters CNS endpoints, including hippocampal-dependent behavior. An even better Earth-based simulation of GCR is now available, consisting of a 33-beam (33-GCR) exposure. However, the effect of whole-body 33-GCR exposure on rodent behavior is unknown, and no 33-GCR CNS countermeasures have been tested. Here astronaut-age-equivalent (6mo-old) C57BL/6J male mice were exposed to 33-GCR (75cGy, a Mars mission dose). Pre-/during/post-Sham or 33-GCR exposure, mice received a diet containing a ‘vehicle’ formulation alone or with the antioxidant/anti-inflammatory compound CDDO‐EA as a potential countermeasure. Behavioral testing beginning 4mo post-irradiation suggested radiation and diet did not affect measures of exploration/anxiety-like behaviors (open field, elevated plus maze) or recognition of a novel object. However, in 3-Chamber Social Interaction (3-CSI), CDDO-EA/33-GCR mice failed to spend more time exploring a holder containing a novel mouse vs. a novel object (empty holder), suggesting sociability deficits. Also, Vehicle/33-GCR and CDDO-EA/Sham mice failed to discriminate between a novel stranger vs. familiarized stranger mouse, suggesting blunted preference for social novelty. CDDO-EA given pre-/during/post-irradiation did not attenuate the 33-GCR-induced blunting of preference for social novelty. Future elucidation of the mechanisms underlying 33-GCR-induced blunting of preference for social novelty will improve risk analysis for astronauts which may in-turn improve countermeasures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113677
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
StatePublished - Feb 15 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • 3-Chamber Social Interaction
  • Charged-Particle
  • Countermeasure
  • Proton
  • Space Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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