Frequent natural killer cell abnormality in children in an area highly contaminated by the Chernobyl accident

Kenichi Koike, Akihiko Yabuhara, Feng Chun Yang, Masaaki Shiohara, Nobukuni Sawai, Akira Sugenoya, Futoshi Iida, Yutaka Koyama, Kazumi Takano, Takushi Takahashi, Minoru Kamata, Yoshinobu Koizumi, Altusina Tatiana Anatoliebna, Gennady Ivanovich Skidanenko, Atsushi Komiyama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Since January 1991, we have been performing thyroid surveys and hematologic and immunologic screening on children in Chechersk, Belarus, a city situated in one of the areas most seriously contaminated with high levels of radionuclides after the Chernobyl accident. Ten children selected from 713 children because of goiter did not show a decrease in humoral immunity or in the number and function of T cells. By contrast, natural killer (NK) cell activity against K562 cells was depressed in 4 of these 10 children. The clinical and laboratory findings indicated that previously reported diseases with NK cell dysfunction could be excluded. A comparative analysis of NK cell activity in children from areas with and without high 137Cs levels revealed a high frequency of abnormal NK cell activity only in children from the area contaminated by radioactive fallout. In addition, there was no correlation between NK cell activity and NK cell number as percentage in the children from the area with high 137Cs levels. Neither activity nor number of NK cells was correlated with the body content of 137Cs. Thus, the frequent abnormality of NK cell function may not have been due to actual internal exposure to the long-lived radionuclide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-145
Number of pages7
JournalInternational journal of hematology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Chernobyl accident
  • Cs incorporation
  • Immunologic screening
  • LAK cell activity
  • NK cell activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology


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