Microbeam radiation therapy is a novel preclinical technique, which uses synchrotron-generated X-rays for the treatment of brain tumours and drug-resistant epilepsies. In order to safely translate this approach to humans, a more in-depth knowledge of the long-term radiobiology of microbeams in healthy tissues is required. We report here the result of the characterization of the rat sensorimotor cortex tolerance to microradiosurgical parallel transections. Healthy adult male Wistar rats underwent irradiation with arrays of parallel microbeams. Beam thickness, spacing and incident dose were 100 or 600 μm, 400 or 1200 μm and 360 or 150 Gy, respectively. Motor performance was carried over a 3-month period. Three months after irradiation rats were sacrificed to evaluate the effects of irradiation on brain tissues by histology and immunohistochemistry. Microbeam irradiation of sensorimotor cortex did not affect weight gain and motor performance. No gross signs of paralysis or paresis were also observed. The cortical architecture was not altered, despite the presence of cell death along the irradiation path. Reactive gliosis was evident in the microbeam path of rats irradiated with 150 Gy, whereas no increase was observed in rats irradiated with 360 Gy.
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