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Radiat Environ Biophys. 2010 Aug;49(3):457-62. doi: 10.1007/s00411-010-0293-1. Epub 2010 May 19.

Tissue slice cultures from humans or rodents: a new tool to evaluate biological effects of heavy ions.

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  • 1Institute of Anatomy, University of Leipzig, Liebigstr. 13, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.


The aim of this interdisciplinary project is to establish slice culture preparations from rodents and humans as a new model system for studying effects of X-rays and heavy ions within normal and tumor tissues. The advantage of such slice cultures relies on the conservation of an organotypic environment, the easy treatment and observation by live-imaging microscopy, and the independence from genetic immortalization strategies used to generate cell lines. Rat brains as well as human tumors were cut into 300-mum-thick sections and cultivated in an incubator in a humidified atmosphere at 37 degrees C. This is realized by a membrane-based culture system with a liquid-air interface. With this system, it is possible to keep rodent slices viable for several months. Human brain tumor slices remained vital for at least 21 days. Slices were irradiated with X-rays at the radiation facility of the University Hospital in Frankfurt/Main at doses up to 40 Gy. Heavy ion irradiations were performed at GSI (Darmstadt) with different ions, energies, and doses. The irradiated slices were analyzed by 3D-confocal microscopy following immunostaining for DNA damage, microglia, and proliferation markers. The phosphorylated histone gammaH2AX proved to be suitable for the detection of ion traversals in this system.

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