Radio-neuroprotective effect of L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC) in an experimental rat model

J Neurooncol. 2014 Sep;119(2):253-61. doi: 10.1007/s11060-014-1489-z. Epub 2014 Jun 1.


Ionizing radiation plays a major role in the treatment of brain tumors, but side-effects may restrict the efficacy of therapy. In the present study, our goals were to establish whether the administration of L-alpha-glycerylphosphorylcholine (GPC) can moderate or prevent any of the irradiation-induced functional and morphological changes in a rodent model of hippocampus irradiation. Anesthetized adult (6-weeks-old) male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to 40 Gy irradiation of one hemisphere of the brain, without or with GPC treatment (50 mg/kg bw by gavage), the GPC treatment continuing for 4 months. The effects of this partial rat brain irradiation on the spatial orientation and learning ability of the rats were assessed with the repeated Morris water maze (MWM) test. Histopathologic (HP) evaluation based on hematoxylin-eosin and Luxol blue staining was performed 4 months after irradiation. The 40 Gy irradiation resulted in a moderate neurological deficit at the levels of both cognitive function and morphology 4 months after the irradiation. The MWM test proved to be a highly sensitive tool for the detection of neurofunctional impairment. The site navigation of the rats was impaired by the irradiation, but the GPC treatment markedly decreased the cognitive impairment. HP examination revealed lesser amounts of macrophage density, reactive gliosis, calcification and extent of demyelination in the GPC-treated group. GPC treatment led to significant protection against the cognitive decline and cellular damage, evoked by focal brain irradiation at 40 Gy dose level. Our study warrants further research on the protective or mitigating effects of GPC on radiation injuries.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Cognition / radiation effects
  • Glycerylphosphorylcholine / pharmacology*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Hippocampus / radiation effects*
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / drug effects
  • Maze Learning / radiation effects
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Photomicrography
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Space Perception / drug effects
  • Space Perception / radiation effects


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Glycerylphosphorylcholine