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Chronic disturbance in the thalamus following cranial irradiation to the developing mouse brain

Journal article
Authors Martina Boström
Yohanna Eriksson
Jolie Danial
Thomas Björk-Eriksson
Marie Kalm
Published in Scientific Reports
Volume 9
Issue 1
Pages 9588
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Pharmacology
Pages 9588
Language en
Subject categories Pharmacology, Cancer and Oncology


Better survival rates among pediatric brain tumor patients have resulted in an increased awareness of late side effects that commonly appear following cancer treatment. Radiation-induced changes in hippocampus and white matter are well described, but do not explain the full range of neurological late effects in childhood cancer survivors. The aim of this study was to investigate thalamus following cranial irradiation (CIR) to the developing brain. At postnatal day 14, male mice pups received a single dose of 8 Gy CIR. Cellular effects in thalamus were assessed using immunohistochemistry 4 months after CIR. Interestingly, the density of neurons decreased with 35% (p = 0.0431) and the density of astrocytes increased with 44% (p = 0.011). To investigate thalamic astrocytes, S100β+ cells were isolated by fluorescence-activated cell sorting and genetically profiled using next-generation sequencing. The phenotypical characterization indicated a disrupted function, such as downregulated microtubules' function, higher metabolic activity, immature phenotype and degraded ECM. The current study provides novel insight into that thalamus, just like hippocampus and white matter, is severely affected by CIR. This knowledge is of importance to understand the late effects seen in pediatric brain tumor survivors and can be used to give them the best suitable care.

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