Stochastic Modeling of Radiation-induced Dendritic Damage on in silico Mouse Hippocampal Neurons

Eliedonna Cacao, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Vipan K. Parihar, University of California, Irvine
Charles L. Limoli, University of California, Irvine
Francis A. Cucinotta, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Cognitive dysfunction associated with radiotherapy for cancer treatment has been correlated to several factors, one of which is changes to the dendritic morphology of neuronal cells. Alterations in dendritic geometry and branching patterns are often accompanied by deficits that impact learning and memory. The purpose of this study is to develop a novel predictive model of neuronal dendritic damages caused by exposure to low linear energy transfer (LET) radiation, such as X-rays, γ-rays and high-energy protons. We established in silico representations of mouse hippocampal dentate granule cell layer (GCL) and CA1 pyramidal neurons, which are frequently examined in radiation-induced cognitive decrements. The in silico representations are used in a stochastic model that describes time dependent dendritic damage induced by exposure to low LET radiation. Changes in morphometric parameters, such as total dendritic length, number of branch points and branch number, including the Sholl analysis for single neurons are described by the model. Our model based predictions for different patterns of morphological changes based on energy deposition in dendritic segments (EDDS) will serve as a useful basis to compare specific patterns of morphological alterations caused by EDDS mechanisms.