Scanning Microscopy


Several techniques have been used to assess changes in different parts of mouse small intestine three days after a single dose of either 16.5 Gy X-rays or 11 Gy neon beam. The doses were chosen to be approximately equivalent in terms of their effect on the number of microcolonies present.

In qualitative terms, villous damage was seen after both types of radiation exposure: collared crypts, similar to those seen in biopsies taken from patients suffering from coeliac disease, were conspicuous after neon irradiation.

In semi quantitative terms the doses used, although estimated from previous work to give biologically equivalent damage, produced a greater drop in microcolony numbers after X-irradiation, This makes all the more important the fact that significantly greater changes were seen after neon irradiation - a greater drop was seen in the number of villous profiles and the number of goblet cells per villus. There was also greater breakdown in the integrity of the villous basement membrane.

Different responses after the two types of irradiation are therefore seen in the cryptal and villous compartment. Progress is being made towards identifying and quantitating radiation induced changes in different populations of cells or tissues in the small intestine.

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