Effects of irradiation on brain vasculature using an in situ tumor model

Janice A. Zawaski, M. Waleed Gaber, Omaima Sabek, Christy M. Wilson, Christopher D. Duntsch, Thomas E. Merchant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose: Damage to normal tissue is a limiting factor in clinical radiotherapy (RT). We tested the hypothesis that the presence of tumor alters the response of normal tissues to irradiation using a rat in situ brain tumor model. Methods and Materials: Intravital microscopy was used with a rat cranial window to assess the in situ effect of rat C6 glioma on peritumoral tissue with and without RT. The RT regimen included 40 Gy at 8 Gy/day starting Day 5 after tumor implant. Endpoints included blood-brain barrier permeability, clearance index, leukocyte-endothelial interactions and staining for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) glial fibrillary acidic protein, and apoptosis. To characterize the system response to RT, animal survival and tumor surface area and volume were measured. Sham experiments were performed on similar animals implanted with basement membrane matrix absent of tumor cells. Results: The presence of tumor alone increases permeability but has little effect on leukocyte-endothelial interactions and astrogliosis. Radiation alone increases tissue permeability, leukocyte-endothelial interactions, and astrogliosis. The highest levels of permeability and cell adhesion were seen in the model that combined tumor and irradiation; however, the presence of tumor appeared to reduce the volume of rolling leukocytes. Unirradiated tumor and peritumoral tissue had poor clearance. Irradiated tumor and peritumoral tissue had a similar clearance index to irradiated and unirradiated sham-implanted animals. Radiation reduces the presence of VEGF in peritumoral normal tissues but did not affect the amount of apoptosis in the normal tissue. Apoptosis was identified in the tumor tissue with and without radiation. Conclusions: We developed a novel approach to demonstrate that the presence of the tumor in a rat intracranial model alters the response of normal tissues to irradiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1082
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2012


  • Astrogliosis
  • Blood-brain barrier
  • Glioma
  • Peritumoral
  • Radiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiation
  • Cancer Research


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