Jyothi Lakshmi, R., Kartha, V. B., Murali Krishna, C., Solomon, J. G. R., Ullas, G. and Uma Devi, P. Tissue Raman Spectroscopy for the Study of Radiation Damage: Brain Irradiation of Mice. Radiat. Res. 157, 175–182 (2002).
Radiotherapy is routinely employed in the treatment of head and neck cancers. Acute cell death, radiation-activated chemical cascades, and the induction of genes coding for protective factors like cytokines are considered to be the major processes involved in radiation damage and repair. It should be possible to follow these processes by monitoring the biochemical interactions initiated by radiation. We have carried out Raman spectroscopy studies on tissue from mice subjected to brain irradiation to identify the biochemical changes occurring in tissue and brain as a result of radiation injury. These studies show that brain irradiation produces drastic spectral changes even in tissue far removed from the irradiation site. The changes are very similar to those produced by the stress of inoculation and restraint and the administration of an anesthetic drug. While the changes produced by stress or anesthetics last for only a short time (a few hours to 1 or 2 days), radiation-induced changes persist even after 1 week. The spectral changes can be interpreted in terms of the observation of new spectra that are dominated by bands due to proteins. The results thus support the hypothesis that various protective factors are released throughout the body when the central nervous system (CNS) is exposed to radiation.