Factors affecting the mobility of plutonium-238 dioxide in the rat

G. N. Stradling*, G. J. Ham, H. Smith, John Cooper, S. E. Breadmore

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    33 Citations (Scopus)


    A major factor influencing the movement of plutonium-238 from the lungs to blood after the intubation of oxide suspensions is the presence of 0·001 μm diameter particles. In a polydisperse suspension of particles this fraction increases with time, due it is thought, to fragmentation of larger particles induced by alpha decay. The rate of this process could account for the greater transportability in vivo of plutonium-238 relative to plutonium-239 when the oxides are inhaled. In blood, 0·001 μm diameter plutonium-238 oxide particles undergo a rapid reaction to form a low molecular weight species before plutonium is complexed with transferrin and citrate ions. The filtration of this species through the kidneys may explain the observed enhanced urinary excretion of plutonium relative to administered plutonium citrate. The mechanism of urinary excretion and relationship between cumulative urinary excretion and body content for plutonium-238 is similar to that previously observed for plutonium-239, even though different methods of preparation of the oxides were used.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-47
    Number of pages11
    JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Biology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1978


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