Multiparametric and longitudinal evaluation of the effects of brain irradiation in rats: from tissue alterations to cognitive impairments

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


Radiotherapy (RT), a major therapy for brain tumors, causes side effects (fatigue and cognitive impairment) that affect the quality of life of patients. Studies have shown different brain damage such as alterations in white matter which are correlated with cognitive impairments observed several months after RT. However, the different pathophysiological mechanisms induced by RT, their evolution over time and their consequences on the onset of cognitive difficulties are not clearly established.


To improve the management of patients treated with brain RT, it is essential to better understand the pathophysiology of cerebral radiotoxicity. In this preclinical research project, our objective is to study the effects of RT on healthy brain in adult rats in the short, medium and long term by evaluating both tissue damage and cognitive impairments. In addition, this research project aims to identify imaging (MRI) and blood biomarkers to aid in the diagnosis of brain damage following RT and also to predict the onset of cognitive decline.

Study methodology

A 6-month longitudinal study was conducted in adult rats to assess the effects of panencephalic fractional RT on both animal behavior (fatigue, locomotion, anxiety, short and long-term memory) and on brain tissue by combining multiparametric MRI studies (anatomical, vascular, diffusion MRI) and ex vivo analyzes (immunohistology). Plasma assays were also performed to identify molecules potentially involved in cerebral radiotoxicity.

Study status

Closed. Valorization ongoing.


Laboratoire de Mathématiques Nicolas Oresme (Caen)

COMETE UMR-S 1075 (Caen)

CYCERON UMS 3408 (Caen)

Financial support

CNRS, Université de Caen, Région Normandie, Cancéropôle Nord-Ouest, ANR-EQUIPEX