Nguyen, V., Gaber, M. W., Sontag, M. R. and Kiani, M. F. Late Effects of Ionizing Radiation on the Microvascular Networks in Normal Tissue.
Damage to the microvascular networks constitutes one of the most important components of ionizing radiation damage to normal tissue. Previously, we have reported the early (3, 7 and 30 days postirradiation) effects of ionizing radiation on the structure and function of normal tissue microvascular networks. Here we report on the late effects of ionizing radiation on the structural and functional changes in microvascular networks in locally irradiated (single 10-Gy dose) hamster cremaster muscles observed 60, 120 and 180 days postirradiation; age-matched animals were used as controls. As in the previous study, intravital microscopy was used to measure structural and functional parameters in complete microvascular networks in vivo. A factorial design was used to examine the effects of radiation status, time postirradiation, and network vessel type on the structure and function of microvascular networks. Our results indicate that the progression of radiation-induced microvascular damage continues during the late times but that there is partial recovery from radiation damage within 6 months postirradiation. Red blood cell flux, red blood cell velocity, and capillary blood flow in irradiated networks at 180 days postirradiation were significantly greater than control levels. As at the early times, all vessel types were not damaged equally by radiation at every time.