Partial-Brain Radiation-Induced Microvascular Cognitive Impairment in Juvenile Murine Unilateral Hippocampal Synaptic Plasticity

Hengyi Fan, Wolfgang Sievert, Julian Hofmann, Selina J. Keppler, Katja Steiger, Xènia Puig-Bosch, Bernhard Haller, Gerhard Rammes, Gabriele Multhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Radiation-induced cognitive deficits have a severe negative impact on pediatric brain tumor patients. The severity of cognitive symptoms is related to the age of the child when radiation was applied, with the most severe effects seen in the youngest. Previous studies using whole-brain irradiation in mice confirmed these findings. To understand ipsilateral and contralateral changes in the hippocampus after partial-brain radiation therapy (PBRT) of the left hemisphere, we assessed the neuroplasticity and changes in the microvasculature of the irradiated and nonirradiated hippocampus in juvenile mice. Methods and Materials: The left hemispheres of 5-week-old mice were irradiated with 2, 8, and 20 Gy and a fractionated dose of 8 Gy in 2 fractions using a computed tomography image guided small animal radiation research platform. Long-term potentiation (LTP) has been monitored ex vivo in the hippocampal cornu ammonis 1 (CA1) region and was assessed 3 days and 5 and 10 weeks after PBRT in both hemispheres and compared to a sham group. Irradiation effects on the hippocampus microvasculature were quantified by efficient tissue clearing and multiorgan volumetric imaging. Results: LTP in irradiated hippocampal slices of juvenile mice declines 3 days after radiation, lasts up to 10 weeks in the irradiated part of the hippocampus, and correlates with a significantly reduced microvasculature length. Specifically, LTP inhibition is sustained in the irradiated (20 Gy, 8 Gy in 2 fractions, 8 Gy, 2 Gy) hippocampus, whereas the contralateral hippocampus remains unaffected after PBRT. LTP inhibition in the irradiated hemisphere after PBRT might be associated with an impaired microvascular network. Conclusion: PBRT induces a long-lasting impairment in neuroplasticity and the microvessel network of the irradiated hippocampus, whereas the contralateral hippocampus remains unaffected. These findings provide insight into the design of PBRT strategies to better protect the young developing brain from cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-758
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


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