Date of Award

Fall 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Medical Physics


Carmel Mothersill


Elisabeth Sch├╝ltke



Committee Member

Colin Seymour, Tom Farrell


Microbeam radiation therapy (MRT) is an experimental radiotherapy concept that has been primarily developed for the treatment of malignant brain tumours. MRT uses high flux synchrotron x-rays delivered as an array of parallel microbeams in high doses of irradiation in fractions of seconds. The aims of this study were to 1) investigate the induction of bystander effects after normal and tumour-bearing rat brains were exposed to MRT and homogenous radiation; 2) validate a brain bystander proteome by detecting protein expression throughout immunohistochemistry: and 3) to investigate whether communication of bystander signals can be produced between animals.

Healthy and tumour-bearing Wistar rats were exposed to 17.5, 35, 70 or 350 Gy of MRT or homogenous field of synchrotron radiation to the right brain hemisphere. To study the communication of bystander effects between animals, irradiated rats shared the same cage with non-irradiated rats over a period of 48 hours. After euthanasia of the animals, brains and bladders were dissected, and samples for immunohistochemistry and bystander clonogenic assays were set up.

Clonogenic survival of the reporter HPVG cells showed that bystander effects occurred in both the non-irradiated hemisphere and bladder of normal and tumour-bearing rats, while the irradiated hemisphere showed the direct effects of radiation. Moreover, communication of bystander signals was confirmed in the non-irradiated rats.

In conclusion, the results suggest that the MRT and homogenous radiation of unilateral normal and tumour-bearing rat brains produce bystander signals that affect the whole organism and that those signals also can be transmitted to non-irradiated animals.

McMaster University Library

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