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Rev Neurol (Paris). 2011 Oct;167(10):746-50. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2011.07.005. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Physiopathology of radiation-induced neurotoxicity.

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  • 1Brain and Spinal Injury Center, San Francisco General Hospital, 1001 Potrero Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94110, USA.


Ionizing irradiation for the treatment of malignant brain tumors has associated with it a risk of inducing serious morphologic and functional deficits. While obvious tissue damage generally occurs after relatively high radiation doses, cognitive impairment can be seen after lower exposures. The mechanisms responsible for cognitive injury are not well understood, but may involve neurogenesis, a process that is affected by microenvironmental factors including oxidative stress and inflammation. In addition, damage to neurons, either directly or through environmental influences may have a profound impact on cognition. The relationships between cellular response, environmental factors and behavior are complex and difficult to study. However, understanding such issues should provide critical information relevant to the development of strategies and approaches to ameliorate or treat radiation-induced injuries that are associated with behavioral performance.

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