Lu, F. and Wong, C. S. Time-Dependent Neurosphere-Forming Ability of Adult Rat Spinal Cord after Irradiation. Radiat. Res. 168, 453–461 (2007).
To determine whether there was evidence for long-term time-dependent changes in neurosphere-forming ability of rat spinal cord after irradiation, a 15-mm length of spinal cord (C2–T2) of 10-week-old female rats was irradiated with a single dose of 2, 5, 10 or 19 Gy. Cells were isolated from the central 10-mm segment of the irradiated spinal cord immediately or at 0.5, 1, 2 or 5 months to form neurospheres. The number and sizes of neurospheres were determined at day 10, 12, 14 and 16 in vitro. The multipotential properties of neurosphere cells were assessed by immunocytochemistry using lineage-specific markers for neurons and glia. In nonirradiated controls, the number and size of the neurospheres decreased with increasing age of the animals. Regardless of the time after irradiation, there was a dose-dependent decrease in the number and size of neurospheres obtained from the irradiated cord compared to age-matched controls. Using three-way ANOVA, the number of neurospheres was dependent on radiation dose (P < 0.0001), time after irradiation (P < 0.0001), and day of counting in vitro (P < 0.0001). Compared to cells cultured immediately after irradiation, there was an increase in the relative plating efficiency of neurospheres cultured 1 month after irradiation. However, no further increase was apparent up to 5 months after irradiation. The multipotential properties of neurosphere cells in vitro remained unchanged with increasing time after irradiation. These results may suggest a time-dependent recovery of radiation damage using neurosphere-forming ability as the end point and agree with data that show time-dependent recovery of radiation damage in spinal cord using histological or functional end points.