A multidisciplinary approach unravels early and persistent effects of X-ray exposure at the onset of prenatal neurogenesis

Tine Verreet, Roel Quintens, Debby Van Dam, Mieke Verslegers, Mirella Tanori, Arianna Casciati, Mieke Neefs, Liselotte Leysen, Arlette Michaux, Ann Janssen, Emiliano D'Agostino, Greetje Vande Velde, Sarah Baatout, Lieve Moons, Simonetta Pazzaglia, Anna Saran, Uwe Himmelreich, Peter Paul De Deyn, Rafi Benotmane

    Research outputpeer-review


    In humans, in utero exposure to ionising radiation results in an increased prevalence of neurological aberrations, such as small head size, mental retardation and decreased IQ levels. Yet, the association between early damaging events and long-term neuronal anomalies remains largely elusive. Mice were exposed to different X-ray doses, ranging between 0.0 and 1.0 Gy, at embryonic days (E) 10, 11 or 12 and subjected to behavioural tests at 12 weeks of age. Underlying mechanism of irradiation at E11 were further unravelled using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy, diffusion tensor imaging, gene expression profiling, histology and immunohistochemistry. Our findings provide evidence for a radiation-induced disruption of mouse brain development, resulting in behavioural differences. We propose that alterations in cortical morphology and juvenile hippocampal neurogenesis might both contribute to the observed aberrant behaviour. Furthermore, our results challenge the generally assumed view of a higher radiosensitivity in dividing cells. Overall, this study offers new insights into irradiation-dependent effects in the embryonic brain, of relevance for the neurodevelopmental and radiobiological field.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    JournalJournal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders
    Issue number3
    StatePublished - Jan 2015

    Cite this