American Journal of Molecular Biology, 2013, 3, 235-240 AJMB Published Online October 2013 (
Potential effects of ultraviolet-C radiation on the mole rats
(Spalax leucodon) hematological values
Huseyin Turker
Department of Biological Science, Ankara University, Ankara, Turkey
Received 27 August 2013; revised 25 September 2013; accepted 7 October 2013
Copyright © 2013 Huseyin Turker. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which
permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
ABSTRACT UV beams are known to enable photosynthesis in
plants and vitamin D synthesis in human, kill pathogen
microorganisms and provide heat for the survival of life.
On the other hand, solar dermatitis, sun burn, pigmenta-
tion, cataract and skin cancer formation, acne, echymosis,
keratosis, photodermatosis, light sensitivity, mutation,
actinic elastosis and sensitivity to infections due to im-
mune deficiency may be seen due to over exposure to
UV beams [1,2,6,7]
In this study, the effect of ultraviolet-C (UVC) radia-
tion on hematologic parameters of mole rats (Spalax
leucodon) was studied. Ten mole rats of both sexes,
weighing 150 - 200 g, were used. The rats were ex-
posed to 8 hours daily UVC radiation for 45 days.
Before the radiation exposure (as a control) and on
day 7, 14, 30 and 45, blood specimens were obtained
from the experimental groups. Then blood samples
were analyzed and compared to the control groups. A
significant decrease or increase of hematological pa-
rameters was observed in some experimental groups
in terms of the control groups of values (p < 0.05).
Alterations in other hematological parameters were
not found to be statistically significant (p > 0.05).
These results showed that the UVC radiation has sig-
nificant effects on some hematological parameters of
mole rats according to the radiation exposure time
and a dose.
Keywords: Ultraviolet Radiation; Mole Rats (Spalax
leucodon); Hematological Parameters
To our knowledge, plenty of data have been gathered
concerning the effects of UVA and UVB radiations on
biochemical, hematological or histopathological charac-
teristics of animals [8-18], but similar studies done with
UVC radiation on the hematological cells on Mole rats
(Spalax leucodo n) have not been encountered.
For this reason, the mole rats were selected as they
lived in the underground galleries, and had no UV expo-
sure in their habitat. Therefore, they were exposed to an
artificially produced UVC radiation in the lab, and the
hematological changes were compared with the control
Ten adult mole rats of both sexes (Spalax leucodon),
weighing 150 - 200 g were used in this study. All animals
were caught in the rural areas of Ankara, Turkey. All rats
were kept at the laboratory for 10 days at a stable tem-
perature (20 ± 2 degrees centigrade) in order to ensure
adaptation of the animals to their new environment. And
then they were placed in special cages called terrarium
(Figure 1).
Sunlight exposure harms biologic systems via ultraviolet
(UV) radiation due to its short wave length and high en-
ergy. The wave length of UV beams was emitted by sun
changes between 200 - 400 nm. UV beams are classified
according to their wavelength; UVA (320-400) UVB
(280-320) and UVC (200-280) [1,2].
All rats were placed to terrarium separately and a con-
stant UVC dosage was applied. All animals were fed
with carrot, potato and plant roots, and no special diet
was given.
UVC radiation is especially important in terms of its
harmful effects on the living beings. Fortunately, the
majority of this radiation is filtered by the ozone (O3)
layer. As the thickness of this layer has reduced in recent
years, it is estimated that skin cancer, cataract and im-
mune deficiency syndrome cases will increase in the near
future [3-5].
A “Mazda TG” ultraviolet lamp in 30 W powers and in
90 cm length was placed to the upper cover of the terrar-
ium. The intensity of the UV emitted from the lamp was
H. Turker / American Journal of Molecular Biology 3 (2013) 235-240
Figure 1. The terrarium where the rats were ex-
posed to UVC radiation.
measured to be 254 nm in wavelength and the energy in
one second was found to be 0.0014 joule/cm2. Sunlight
period was taken into account and rats were exposed to
UVC for 8 hours per day (between 08:00 - 17:00 hours)
during 45 days. A feeding interval was given at midday
for 1 hour. A timer was used to control the UVC expo-
sure times.
Blood specimens of 2 cc were obtained to 1 ml EDTA
tubes from the intra cardiac route under light ether anes-
thesia, before UVC exposure (at day 0) and on days 7, 14,
30 and 45. After waiting for 10 minutes at a room tem-
perature, samples were centrifugated at 2500 rpm for 10
minutes. The plasma was separated and put into different
tubes and analysis was performed. Erythrocyte, leuko-
cyte, hemotocyrite, neutrophil, lymphocyte monocyte,
eosinophil, basophile and hemoglobin values were meas-
ured with Contraves Digicel 3100-H.
Data were analyzed using the SPSS for Windows soft-
ware, Version 18.00(SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL, USA). The
differences between means of the control and experi-
mental groups were evaluated by Wilcoxon Signed
Ranks Test. “Two-Related Samples Tests” was applied
for further analysis. At the end of the study, all rats were
taken to the areas they had been caught.
The experiment was carried out in accordance with the
Ankara University guidelines for the care of the experi-
mental animals. Besides, guiding principles for experi-
mental procedures presented in the World Medical Asso-
ciation’s Declaration of Helsinki, regarding animal ex-
perimentation were followed in the study.
Blood parameters of the UVC exposed rats were pre-
sented in Table 1. Statistically significant changes in
some blood parameters were documented after 45 days.
Erythrocyte counts on day 14, 30 and 45, hemoglobin
value on day 45, leukocyte counts on day 30 and 45,
neutrophil values on day 7, 14 and 30, monocyte value
on day 30 were found statistically significant (p < 0.05)
compared to day 0 (control) values whereas hematocryte,
lymphocyte, eosinophil and basophile values were found
statistically insignificant (p > 0.05).
Ta ble 1. The hematological findings from control and exposed
animals (Mole rats) to UVC radiation according to exposure
time (7, 14, 30 and 45 days).
Radiation Period (Days)
Variables 0 d
(n = 10)7
(n = 10) 14
(n = 10) 30
(n = 10)45
(n = 10)
8.57 ±
8.76 ±
7.53 ±
7.65 ±
9.65 ±
12.46 ±
11.58 ±
12.56 ±
13.22 ±
13.60 ±
46.20 ±
44.50 ±
46.80 ±
48.20 ±
50.40 ±
29.90 ±
36.50 ±
41.00 ±
45.40 ±
54.40 ±
29.30 ±
33.80 ±
33.40 ±
29.50 ±
29.70 ±
66.90 ±
58.20 ±
56.20 ±
55.60 ±
63.00 ±
6.30 ±
5.20 ±
8.80 ±
13.80 ±
6.40 ±
0.70 ±
1.90 ±
1.10 ±
0.50 ±
0.40 ±
1.50 ±
0.90 ±
0.50 ±
0.80 ±
1.70 ±
a,bMean values with different superscripts in the column are significantly
different (p < 0.05).
All living beings on the earth are exposed to UV radia-
tion emitted from the sun. It is clear that previously ab-
sorbed UV radiation would affect the outcome of the
studies carried out on these living beings. On the other
hand, mole rats used in this study live in underground
galleries and are not exposed to sun emitted radiation. It
is too hard to observe the effect of UV radiation on vis-
cera of the animals that are exposed to sunlight all
through their life. Blood parameters play a very impor-
tant role in body functions and they are also affected
from sun light. For these reasons, we thought that mole
rats would be a better model to evaluate the effect of UV
radiation on hematological parameters.
Rats were exposed to UVC radiation and changes on
their hematological parameters were compared to base-
line (day 0) values. With UVC exposure, the erythrocyte
counts on day 14, 30 and 45 were found statistically sig-
nificant (p < 0.05). According to these data, a significant
decrease in erythrocyte values (from 8.76 ± 1.42 to 7.65
± 1.40) on the 14th, 30th days, but an increase (9.65 ±
0.89) was noted on the 45th day of UV exposure (Figure
2). Our findings correlate well with the data derived from
human, fish, rats and mice [11,17-19].
There was no significant effects of UVC on hemoglo-
bin value along the experiment (p > 0.05), however, sta-
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
H. Turker / American Journal of Molecular Biology 3 (2013) 235-240 237
Figure 2. Erythrocyte values.
tistically significant increase was noted on day 45 (13.60
± 0.81) (p < 0.05) (Figure 3). The increase is consistent
with the studies performed on humans [19] and rats [11],
but decrease in hemoglobin values were performed on
mice, calves, sheep and fish [9,17,18,20].
In our study, there was no statistically significant ef-
fects on hemotocyrite values along the UVC radiation
exposure (p > 0.05) (Figure 4). This finding was consis-
tent with the studies on primate and fish [8] and incon-
sistent with the studies on rats and fish [11,13,17,18].
Leukocyte counts showed significant increase with
UV radiation on day 30 and 45 (from 45.40 ± 19.31 to
54.40 ± 17.43) compared to the control group (p < 0.05)
(Figure 5). This might be due to the protection of the
organisms from the harmful effects of the sunlight. It has
been reported that even strain differences are the cause of
different immune responses to UV radiation [21]. The
increase of leukocyte numbers during the experiment
probably due to the secretion of IL-1 from melanocytes
and keratinocytes of skin via effects of UV radiation. IL-
1 activates bone marrow to release its leukocyte stores
into circulation [22]. Our results were consistent with the
studies on mice and rats [14,15], while no changes or
decrease in some studies [8,11,13,23,24].
In the present study, there was a significant effects of
UVC on lymphocyte percentage (p > 0.05) (Figure 6).
Similar results have been shown in some studies done
before [11,25,26].
In our study, with UV radiation a significant decrease
in the neutrophil, values (from 58.20 ± 4.56 to 55.60 ±
4.06) were observed on day 7, 14 and 30 compared to the
control group (p < 0.05) (Figure 7). These results were
consistent with the studies done on dogs and human [27,
28], but inconsistent with some studies on calves, pri-
mates and humans [8,20,29].
In the present study, a significant increase in monocyte
value (13.80 ± 7.92) was shown on day 30 (p < 0.05)
(Figure 8), but there were no significant effects on eosi-
nophil and basophile values during the UV experiment (p
> 0.05) (Figures 9 and 10). Our findings were correlated
with the studies carried out on primates, mice and rats
Figure 3. Hemoglobin values.
Figure 4. Hematocryte values.
Figure 5. Leukocyte values.
Figure 6. Lymphocyte values.
[8,10,15], but not correlated with the other studies in the
literature [12,25].
These results stressed that UVC radiation is also effec-
tive on the hematological parameters, like other types of
radiation. Animals exposed to radiation shows increased
Copyright © 2013 SciRes. OPEN ACCESS
H. Turker / American Journal of Molecular Biology 3 (2013) 235-240
“Far ultraviolet radiation” with a wavelength of 100 -
1700 A˚ has enough energy for ionization. This is the
type of ultraviolet radiation that is effective on the living
beings. The longer exposure time of UV radiation shows
more harmful effects on living beings. Loss in ozone
layer will result with increased UVC exposure that will
cause skin cancer, cataract and immune deficiency and
impairs blood parameters [1,7].
Hematological and biochemical blood parameters are
fundamental for the diagnosis of various diseases-both
metabolic and infectious [32]. Higher leukocyte values
indicate infectious disease. Heterophyl and eosinophil
increase point out microbial and parasitical infections
respectively and basophile domination indicates a para-
sitic disease [32,33].
Figure 7. Neutrophil values.
Figure 8. Monocyte values.
Figure 9. Eosinophil values.
Figure 10. Basophiles values.
leukocyte counts and some granulocyte counts. This is an
indicator of radiation provoked immune system damage
[15]. Increased erythrocyte and hemoglobin values in
mole rats, just like the Ostrichs, may be enlightened by
the ability of fast running and high oxygen consumption
and transport rates [30,31].
In conclusion, according to UV radiation exposure in
mole, rats were documented to cause some hematologi-
cal values along the experiment. There was a significant
increase in leukocyte counts, hemoglobin and monocyte
value and a decrease in erythrocyte number and neutro-
phil values during the experiment. Statistically signifi-
cant changes in hematocryte, eosinophil and basophile
values could not be documented. These results indicate
that the smaller wave UVC radiation has greater effects
on some blood parameters than the others.
The author thanks Ali BILGILI (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, An-
kara University, Turkey) and Turan GUVEN (Gazi Education Faculty,
Department of Biology, Gazi University, Turkey) for assisting of ex-
periment and Levent ALTINTAS (Pharmacology and Toxicology
Department, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ankara University, Tur-
key) for the biochemical exams and analysis of values.
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