Biological effects after prenatal irradiation (embryo and fetus)

J. Valentin*, Roger Cox, Christian Streffer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Citations (Scopus)


In its 1990 recommendations, the ICRP considered the radiation risks after exposure during prenatal development. This report is a critical review of new experimental animal data on biological effects and evaluations of human studies after prenatal radiation published since the 1990 recommendations. Thus, the report discusses the effects after radiation exposure during pre-implantation, organogenesis, and fetogenesis. The aetiology of long-term effects on brain development is discussed, as well as evidence from studies in man on the effects of in-utero radiation exposure on neurological and mental processes. Animal studies of carcinogenic risk from in-utero radiation and the epidemiology of childhood cancer are discussed, and the carcinogenic risk to man from in-utero radiation is assessed. Open questions and needs for future research are elaborated. The report reiterates that the mammalian embryo and fetus are highly radiosensitive. The nature and sensitivity of induced biological effects depend upon dose and developmental stage at irradiation. The various effects, as studied in experimental systems and in man, are discussed in detail. It is concluded that the findings in the report strengthen and supplement the 1990 recommendations of the ICRP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-206
Number of pages206
JournalAnnals of the ICRP
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Childhood cancer
  • Lethality
  • Malformation
  • Radiation protection
  • Retardation


Dive into the research topics of 'Biological effects after prenatal irradiation (embryo and fetus)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this