The acute illness caused by exposure to a high dose of penetrating radiation to the body is referred to as the Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS). There are three classic ARS syndromes: bone marrow syndrome (also referred to as hematopoietic syndrome), gastrointestinal (GI) syndrome, and cardiovascular (CV)/central nervous system (CNS) syndrome.
In humans, the bone marrow syndrome usually occurs with a dose of > 0.7 Gy. The symptoms are anorexia, nausea and vomiting and death of stem cells in the bone marrow occurs at a latent stage. Gastrointestinal (GI) syndrome usually occurs at a dose greater than 10 Gy. The symptoms are anorexia, severe nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhea. Subjects with this syndrome usually die within 2 weeks. The cause of death is usually infection, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance as a result of destructive changes in the GI tract and bone marrow. CV/CNS syndrome occurs as a result of exposure to very high dose of greater than 50 Gy and all subjects are expected to die from this syndrome. Biomodels has developed an animal model of acute radiation exposure to test therapeutics designed to prevent radiation toxicity-associated deaths.