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Radiat Res. 2010 Apr;173(4):486-93. doi: 10.1667/RR1728.1.

High-LET radiation-induced response of microvessels in the Hippocampus.

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  • 1Departments of Radiation Medicine, Molecular Radiation Biology Laboratories, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California 92350, USA.


The hippocampus is critical for learning and memory, and injury to this structure is associated with cognitive deficits. The response of the hippocampal microvessels after a relatively low dose of high-LET radiation remains unclear. In this study, endothelial population changes in hippocampal microvessels exposed to (56)Fe ions at doses of 0, 0.5, 2 and 4 Gy were quantified using unbiased stereological techniques. Twelve months after exposure, mice that received 0.5 Gy or 2 Gy of iron ions showed a 34% or 29% loss of endothelial cells, respectively, in the hippocampal cornu ammonis region 1 (CA1) compared to age-matched controls or mice that received 4 Gy (P < 0.05). We suggest that this "U-shaped" dose response indicates a repopulation from a sensitive subset of endothelial cells that occurred after 4 Gy that was stimulated by an initial rapid loss of endothelial cells. In contrast to the CA1, in the dentate gyrus (DG), there was no significant difference in microvessel cell and length density between irradiated groups and age-matched controls. Vascular topology differences between CA1 and DG may account for the variation in dose response. The correlation between radiation-induced alterations in the hippocampal microvessels and their functional consequences must be investigated in further studies.

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