Benefit of physical activity in countering the side effects of cerebral radiotherapy: preclinical study in adult rats

Coordinator: Elodie Pérès & Omar Touzani (ISTCT UMR6030, Equipe CERVOxy)


Although radiotherapy (RT) presents a clear prognostic gain for patients with brain tumors, sequelae (fatigue, cognitive deficits) are observed after RT and impact quality of life. To date, no treatment has been used in the “post-cancer” phase to prevent or treat these radiation-induced side effects. Several recent clinical studies on different types of cancer have shown a benefit from physical activity (PA) in terms of prognosis or quality of life for patients. To date, studies of this non-drug therapy on animal models of RT remain scarce and are essential to better understand the beneficial effects and optimize this therapy.


Even if PA is increasingly recommended and even prescribed to patients after cancer treatments, the contribution of experimental arguments is important to clearly understand its therapeutic value, especially in cerebral oncology. This is why, in this project, we propose to evaluate at the preclinical scale, the impact of PA on neuropathological damage induced by cerebral RT, both on tissue damage as well as on cognitive deficits and fatigue, by comparing forced PA and spontaneous PA in adult animals.

Study methodology

After panencephalic fractional irradiation, the rats will be exposed to regular physical activity for 6 months, either using a treadmill (forced PA) or with an activity wheel arranged in the cages ( Spontaneous PA). The interest of PA in remedying the cerebral sequelae of RT will be evaluated longitudinally (up to 6 months after RT) and by an integrated manner both on animal behavior (fatigue, locomotion, memory, anxiety) and on brain damage, by non-invasive imaging examinations (MRI) and post-mortem analyzes (immunohistology, biochemical assays).

Study status



COMETE UMR-S 1075 (Caen)

Financial support

CNRS, Université de Caen, Région Normandie, ANR-EQUIPEX, doctoral grant CNRS GDR Sport&Activité physique