The Distant Molecular Effects on the Brain by Cancer Treatment

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Cancer survivors experience cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI) secondary to treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy independently contribute to cognitive dysfunction; however, the underlying mechanisms leading to dysfunction remain unclear. We characterized brain gene expression changes in a mouse model of CRCI to identify the mechanistic underpinnings. Eleven-to-twelve-week-old SKH1 mice were treated with doxorubicin (DOX), hindlimb radiation (RT), concurrent hindlimb radiation and doxorubicin (DOX-RT), or no treatment (control). Sixteen days following treatment, gene expression was measured from murine brains using the NanoString nCounter® glial profiling panel. Gene expression was normalized and compared between groups. No two groups shared the same expression pattern, and only Gnb1 and Srpr were upregulated in multiple treatment groups. Brains from DOX-treated mice had upregulated Atf2, Atp5b, Gnb1, Rad23b, and Srpr and downregulated Sirt5 expression compared to control brains. Brains from RT-treated mice demonstrated increased Abcg2 and Fgf2 and decreased C1qa and C1qb expression compared to control brains. Brains from DOX-RT-treated mice had upregulated Adar, E2f3, Erlec1, Gnb1, Srpr, Vim, and Pdgfra expression and downregulated Rock2 and Inpp5f expression compared to control brains. The gene expression changes demonstrated here highlight roles for neuronal transmission and oxidative stress in the pathogenesis of doxorubicin-related CRCI and inflammation in RT-related CRCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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  • SKH1 mice
  • cancer neuropathology
  • cancer treatment
  • cancer-related cognitive impairment CRCI


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