Radiation is used in the study of neurogenesis in the adult mouse both as a model for patients undergoing radiation therapy for CNS malignancies and as a tool to interrupt neurogenesis. We describe the use of a dedicated CT-guided precision device to irradiate specific sub-regions of the adult mouse brain. Improved CT visualization was accomplished with intrathecal injection of iodinated contrast agent, which enhances the lateral ventricles. T2-weighted MRI images were also used for target localization. Visualization of delivered beams (10 Gy) in tissue was accomplished with immunohistochemical staining for the protein γ-H2AX, a marker of DNA double-strand breaks. γ-H2AX stains showed that the lateral ventricle wall could be targeted with an accuracy of 0.19 mm (n  =  10). In the hippocampus, γ-H2AX staining showed that the dentate gyrus can be irradiated unilaterally with a localized arc treatment. This resulted in a significant decrease of proliferative neural progenitor cells as measured by Ki-67 staining (P < 0.001) while leaving the contralateral side intact. Two months after localized irradiation, neurogenesis was significantly inhibited in the irradiated region as seen with EdU/NeuN double labeling (P < 0.001). Localized radiation in the rodent brain is a promising new tool for the study of neurogenesis.

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