The volume effect in irradiated mouse colorectum

Mark William Skwarchuk, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Damage of the colorectum is the dose-limiting normal tissue complication following radiotherapy of prostate and cervical cancers. One approach for decreasing complications is to physically reduce the treatment volume. Mathematical models have been previously developed to describe the change in associated toxicity with a change in irradiated volume, i.e. the "volume effect", for serial-type normal tissues including the colorectum. The first goal of this thesis was to test the hypothesis that there would not be a threshold length in the development of obstruction after irradiation of mouse colorectum, as predicted by the Probability model of the volume effect. The second goal was to examine if there were differences in the threshold and in the incidence of colorectal obstruction after irradiation of two mouse strains, C57B1/6 (C57) and C3Hf/Kam (C3H), previously found to be fibrosis-prone and-resistant, respectively, after lung irradiation due, in part, to genetic differences. The hypothesis examined was that differences in incidence between strains were due to the differential expression of the fibrogenic cytokines $\rm TGF\beta$ and $\rm TNF\alpha.$ Various lengths of C57 and C3H mouse colorectum were irradiated and the incidence of colorectal obstruction was followed up to 15 months. A threshold length was observed for both mouse strains, in contradiction of model predictions. The mechanism of the threshold was epithelial regeneration after irradiation. C57 mice had significantly higher incidence of colorectal obstruction compared to C3H mice, especially at smaller irradiated lengths. Colorectal tissue was obtained at various times after irradiation and prepared for histology, immunohistochemistry and RNase protection assay for measurement of $\rm TGF\beta 1,$ 2, 3 and $\rm TNF\alpha$ mRNA. Distinct strain differences in the histological time of appearance and spatial locations of fibrosis were observed. However, there were no consistent strain difference in mRNA levels or immunolocalization for any of the cytokines examined. The data indicate the need for volume effect models that account for biologically important processes, such as the effect of epithelial regeneration after irradiation. As well, changes in fibrogenic cytokines at the mRNA level do not contribute to the strain difference in radiation-induced colorectal obstruction.

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Recommended Citation

Skwarchuk, Mark William, "The volume effect in irradiated mouse colorectum" (1997). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9807055.