Track structure model of microscopic energy deposition by protons and heavy ions in segments of neuronal cell dendrites represented by cylinders or spheres

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Life Sciences in Space Research



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Changes to cognition, including memory, following radiation exposure are a concern for cosmic ray exposures to astronauts and in Hadron therapy with proton and heavy ion beams. The purpose of the present work is to develop computational methods to evaluate microscopic energy deposition (ED) in volumes representative of neuron cell structures, including segments of dendrites and spines, using a stochastic track structure model. A challenge for biophysical models of neuronal damage is the large sizes (> 100 µm) and variability in volumes of possible dendritic segments and pre-synaptic elements (spines and filopodia). We consider cylindrical and spherical microscopic volumes of varying geometric parameters and aspect ratios from 0.5 to 5 irradiated by protons, and 3He and 12C particles at energies corresponding to a distance of 1 cm to the Bragg peak, which represent particles of interest in Hadron therapy as well as space radiation exposure. We investigate the optimal axis length of dendritic segments to evaluate microscopic ED and hit probabilities along the dendritic branches at a given macroscopic dose. Because of large computation times to analyze ED in volumes of varying sizes, we developed an analytical method to find the mean primary dose in spheres that can guide numerical methods to find the primary dose distribution for cylinders. Considering cylindrical segments of varying aspect ratio at constant volume, we assess the chord length distribution, mean number of hits and ED profiles by primary particles and secondary electrons (δ-rays). For biophysical modeling applications, segments on dendritic branches are proposed to have equal diameters and axes lengths along the varying diameter of a dendritic branch. © 2017



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