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Neurol Res. 1999 Mar;21(2):209-15.

Early decrease of P-glycoprotein in the endothelium of the rat brain capillaries after moderate dose of irradiation.

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Department of Neurosurgery, Kochi Medical School, Japan.


In this study, we examined the degree of disruption of blood-brain barrier (BBB) in irradiated rat brains using P-glycoprotein, one of the functional molecules of BBB, as a marker. In the animal experiments, disruption of BBB has been mainly studied at the acute stage of brain edema caused by a lethal dose of irradiation. However, they do not mimic the clinical situation of radiotherapy for malignant brain tumors. Therefore, we examined effects of a clinically compatible dose of radiation on BBB. The rat hemisphere received a single application of 25 Gy of X-rays, and P-glycoprotein was analyzed 5 days later by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. Immunoreactivity of P-glycoprotein was found to be strong in endothelial cells of the brain of the nonirradiated rat as well as in the nonirradiated hemisphere of the irradiated rat. In contrast, very weak or no immunoreactivity was observed in the majority of endothelial cells in the irradiated hemisphere. Western blotting quantitatively showed that P-glycoprotein in the irradiated hemisphere decreased to nearly 60% that of the controls. The present study indicated that even a clinically applicable dose of radiation causes early disruption of BBB in the rat model.

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