Scanning Microscopy


Changes of calcium-content and permeability of tight junction following X-irradiation were investigated in mouse intestinal epithelial cells by electron microscopy. In the control animals the lower parts of tight junctional area as well as the other junctional elements and the intercellular space are labeled by pyroantimonate precipitates, which contain calcium as revealed by electron spectroscopy and electron energy loss spectrometry. X-irradiation, parallel with morphological changes, lead to rapid decrease of pyroantimonate precipitable calcium content and increase of the permeability of tight junctions indicated by the penetration of ruthenium red into the intercellular space. These changes were readily reversible following 0,5 Gy doses of irradiation however, they persisted up to 24 hours following 5 Gy irradiation. We conclude that irradiation at the applied doses can transiently destabilize the tight junctions in the epithelial layer of the small intestine, presumably through a calcium dependent mechanism.

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