Low-dose ionising radiation and cardiovascular diseases - Strategies for molecular epidemiological studies in Europe

Michaela Kreuzer*, Anssi Auvinen, Elisabeth Cardis, Janet Hall, Jean Rene Jourdain, Dominique Laurier, Mark P. Little, Annette Peters, Ken Raj, Nicola S. Russell, Soile Tapio, Wei Zhang, Maria Gomolka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Citations (Scopus)


It is well established that high-dose ionising radiation causes cardiovascular diseases. In contrast, the evidence for a causal relationship between long-term risk of cardiovascular diseases after moderate doses (0.5-5. Gy) is suggestive and weak after low doses (<0.5. Gy). However, evidence is emerging that doses under 0.5. Gy may also increase long-term risk of cardiovascular disease. This would have major implications for radiation protection with respect to medical use of radiation for diagnostic purposes and occupational or environmental radiation exposure. Therefore, it is of great importance to gain information about the presence and possible magnitude of radiation-related cardiovascular disease risk at doses of less than 0.5. Gy. The biological mechanisms implicated in any such effects are unclear and results from epidemiological studies are inconsistent. Molecular epidemiological studies can improve the understanding of the pathogenesis and the risk estimation of radiation-induced circulatory disease at low doses. Within the European DoReMi (Low Dose Research towards Multidisciplinary Integration) project, strategies to conduct molecular epidemiological studies in this field have been developed and evaluated. Key potentially useful European cohorts are the Mayak workers, other nuclear workers, uranium miners, Chernobyl liquidators, the Techa river residents and several diagnostic or low-dose radiotherapy patient cohorts. Criteria for informative studies are given and biomarkers to be investigated suggested. A close collaboration between epidemiology, biology and dosimetry is recommended, not only among experts in the radiation field, but also those in cardiovascular diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-100
Number of pages11
JournalMutation Research - Reviews in Mutation Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.


  • Biomarker
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Ionising radiation
  • Pathogenesis


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