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PLoS By Category | Recent PLoS Articles
Hematology - Immunology - Neuroscience - Oncology - Physiology

High-Resolution In-Vivo Analysis of Normal Brain Response to Cranial Irradiation
Published: Monday, June 04, 2012
Author: Kelly Burrell et al.

by Kelly Burrell, Richard P. Hill, Gelareh Zadeh

Radiation therapy (RT) is a widely accepted treatment strategy for many central nervous system (CNS) pathologies. However, despite recognized therapeutic success, significant negative consequences are associated with cranial irradiation (CR), which manifests months to years post-RT. The pathophysiology and molecular alterations that culminate in the long-term detrimental effects of CR are poorly understood, though it is thought that endothelial injury plays a pivotal role in triggering cranial injury. We therefore explored the contribution of bone marrow derived cells (BMDCs) in their capacity to repair and contribute to neo-vascularization following CR. Using high-resolution in vivo optical imaging we have studied, at single-cell resolution, the spatio-temporal response of BMDCs in normal brain following CR. We demonstrate that BMDCs are recruited specifically to the site of CR, in a radiation dose and temporal-spatial manner. We establish that BMDCs do not form endothelial cells but rather they differentiate predominantly into inflammatory cells and microglia. Most notably we provide evidence that more than 50% of the microglia in the irradiated region of the brain are not resident microglia but recruited from the bone marrow following CR. These results have invaluable therapeutic implications as BMDCs may be a primary therapeutic target to block acute and long-term inflammatory response following CR. Identifying the critical steps involved in the sustained recruitment and differentiation of BMDCs into microglia at the site of CR can provide new insights into the mechanisms of injury following CR offering potential therapeutic strategies to counteract the long-term adverse effects of CR.
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