Implications of irradiating the subventricular zone stem cell niche

Vivian Capilla-Gonzalez, Janice M. Bonsu, Kristin J. Redmond, Jose Manuel Garcia-Verdugo, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Radiation therapy is a standard treatment for brain tumor patients. However, it comes with side effects, such as neurological deficits. While likely multi-factorial, the effect may in part be associated with the impact of radiation on the neurogenic niches. In the adult mammalian brain, the neurogenic niches are localized in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricles and the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, where the neural stem cells (NSCs) reside. Several reports showed that radiation produces a drastic decrease in the proliferative capacity of these regions, which is related to functional decline. In particular, radiation to the SVZ led to a reduced long-term olfactory memory and a reduced capacity to respond to brain damage in animal models, as well as compromised tumor outcomes in patients. By contrast, other studies in humans suggested that increased radiation dose to the SVZ may be associated with longer progression-free survival in patients with high-grade glioma. In this review, we summarize the cellular and functional effects of irradiating the SVZ niche. In particular, we review the pros and cons of using radiation during brain tumor treatment, discussing the complex relationship between radiation dose to the SVZ and both tumor control and toxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-396
Number of pages10
JournalStem Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Brain tumor
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Radiation
  • Subventricular zone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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