Radiation-induced apoptosis of oligodendrocytes in vitro

Int J Radiat Biol. 1992 Oct;62(4):475-80. doi: 10.1080/09553009214552361.


It has been suggested that glial cells and/or their progenitors are the primary target cells for radiation-induced demyelination. Cultures of terminally differentiated oligodendrocytes, immature oligodendrocytes, and O-2A progenitor cells were generated from the cerebral cortex and spinal cord of perinatal rat pups. Irradiation of cultures of terminally differentiated oligodendrocytes resulted in a significant increase in the percentage of apoptotic cells from 15% in control to 30% in irradiated samples, with the maximum increase induced by 10 Gy. This increase in apoptosis could be observed by 1 h after irradiation with the maximum level reached at 3-6 h. Apoptotic cells were not detected before or after irradiation of cultures of O-2A progenitor cells or immature oligodendrocytes. These data suggest that radiation-induced apoptosis of terminally differentiated oligodendrocytes may be involved in early demyelination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apoptosis*
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Demyelinating Diseases / etiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Oligodendroglia / cytology
  • Oligodendroglia / radiation effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley