Effects of Synchrotron X-Ray Micro-beam Irradiation on Normal Mouse Ear Pinnae

Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2018 Jul 1;101(3):680-689. doi: 10.1016/j.ijrobp.2018.02.007. Epub 2018 Feb 13.


Purpose: To analyze the effects of micro-beam irradiation (MBI) on the normal tissues of the mouse ear.

Methods and materials: Normal mouse ears are a unique model, which in addition to skin contain striated muscles, cartilage, blood and lymphatic vessels, and few hair follicles. This renders the mouse ear an excellent model for complex tissue studies. The ears of C57BL6 mice were exposed to MBI (50-μm-wide micro-beams, spaced 200 μm between centers) with peak entrance doses of 200, 400, or 800 Gy (at ultra-high dose rates). Tissue samples were examined histopathologically, with conventional light and electron microscopy, at 2, 7, 15, 30, and 240 days after irradiation (dpi). Sham-irradiated animals acted as controls.

Results: Only an entrance dose of 800 Gy caused a significant increase in the thickness of both epidermal and dermal ear compartments seen from 15 to 30 dpi; the number of sebaceous glands was significantly reduced by 30 dpi. The numbers of apoptotic bodies and infiltrating leukocytes peaked between 15 and 30 dpi. Lymphatic vessels were prominently enlarged at 15 up to 240 dpi. Sarcomere lesions in striated muscle were observed after all doses, starting from 2 dpi; scar tissue within individual beam paths remained visible up to 240 dpi. Cartilage and blood vessel changes remained histologically inconspicuous.

Conclusions: Normal tissues such as skin, cartilage, and blood and lymphatic vessels are highly tolerant to MBI after entrance doses up to 400 Gy. The striated muscles appeared to be the most sensitive to MBI. Those findings should be taken into consideration in future micro-beam radiation therapy treatment schedules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Ear / pathology
  • Ear / radiation effects*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Organ Specificity
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / etiology*
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / pathology
  • Synchrotrons*
  • Time Factors
  • X-Ray Therapy / adverse effects*
  • X-Ray Therapy / instrumentation*