In silico model of the early effects of radiation therapy on the microcirculation and the surrounding tissues.

Alessandro Cicchetti, Federica Laurino, Luca Possenti, Tiziana Rancati, Paolo Zunino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Radiation-induced organ dysfunction are frequently described by Normal Tissue Complication Probability models. The approximations of this radiobiological approach do not allow to consider the important role played by the microvasculature not only in the dose-response of the blood vessels but also of the organs where it is located. To this purpose, we presented a computational model that describes the fluid dynamics of microcirculation when the parameters of the network and the surrounding tissues are affected by radio-induced changes. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The effects of the ionizing radiation on the capillary bed are mediated by the inflammatory response. We derived from a literature search the possible morphological and functional variations of the network due to the process of the acute inflammation. Specifically, we considered vasodilation, increased membrane permeability with consequent fluid extravasation and increased wall elasticity. These perturbations to the system were included in a computational model, already able to describe the physics of the microcirculation and its exchanges with the surrounding tissues. RESULTS: Two computational descriptions were considered. In the first one, we changed a set of 4 parameters associated with the increased fluid exchange from the health scenario at the baseline to a seriously compromised scenario with the edema formation. The second study investigated the effect of a perturbation to the vessel wall elasticity. CONCLUSIONS: These simulations represent a first step towards the challenging objective of understanding and describing in a mechanistic way the effects of radiation on the vascular microenvironment.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhysica Medica
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2020


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