Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo) 2001 Dec;41(12):590-8
Akiyama K, Tanaka R, Sato M, Takeda N.
Department of Neurosurgery, Brain Research Institute, Niigata University, Niigata.
Cognitive dysfunction and histological changes in the brain were investigated following irradiation in 20 Fischer 344 rats aged 6 months treated with whole brain irradiation (WBR) (25 Gy/single dose), and compared with the same number of sham-irradiated rats as controls.
Performance of the Morris water maze task and the passive avoidance task were examined one year after WBR.
Finally, histological and immunohistochemical examinations using antibodies to myelin basic protein (MBP), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and neurofilament (NF) were performed of the rat brains.
The irradiated rats continued to gain weight 7 months after WBR whereas the control rats stopped gaining weight.
Cognitive functions in both the water maze task and the passive avoidance task were lower in the irradiated rats than in the control rats.
Brain damage consisting of demyelination only or with necrosis was found mainly in the body of the corpus callosum and the parietal white matter near the corpus callosum in the irradiated rats.
Immunohistochemical examination of the brains without necrosis found MBP-positive fibers were markedly decreased in the affected areas by irradiation;
NF-positive fibers were moderately decreased and irregularly dispersed in various shapes in the affected areas; and GFAP-positive fibers were increased, with gliosis in those areas.
These findings are similar to those in clinically accelerated brain aging in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, Binswanger's disease, and multiple sclerosis.