Radiation and environmental biophysics

Microanalytical study of thorium 232 deposits in bone marrow and liver.

PMID 3353495


Analytical microscopy was used to study the distribution and chemical composition of thorium deposits in bone marrow and liver after injection of thorium dioxide and thorium nitrate. Thorotrast (thorium dioxide) was identified as being localized in bone marrow macrophages of a patient who had undergone cerebral arteriography forty two years ago. Large thorotrast deposits were also present in liver cells. We show that non-colloidal thorium (thorium nitrate) injected in rats concentrates in a non soluble form in bone marrow macrophages, hepatocytes and Kupffer cells. These deposits of thorium associated with phosphorus can be explained by the formation of thorium phosphate in lysosomes and we demonstrate that they remain in tissue for a long time. Microanalysis was performed with ion microscopy, and electron probe microanalysis by X ray spectrometry, which can identify and localize thorium and associated elements at cellular or intracellular level.