Radioprotective potential of probiotics against gastrointestinal and neuronal toxicity: a preclinical study

Babu Santhi Venkidesh, Saligrama R. Shankar, Rekha Koravadi Narasimhamurthy, Satish Bola Sadashiva Rao, Kamalesh Dattaram Mumbrekar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Radiotherapy is a critical component of cancer treatment, along with surgery and chemotherapy. Approximately, 90% of cancer patients undergoing pelvic radiotherapy show gastrointestinal (GI) toxicity, including bloody diarrhea, and gastritis, most of which are associated with gut dysbiosis. In addition to the direct effect of radiation on the brain, pelvic irradiation can alter the gut microbiome, leading to inflammation and breakdown of the gut–blood barrier. This allows toxins and bacteria to enter the bloodstream and reach the brain. Probiotics have been proven to prevent GI toxicity by producing short-chain fatty acids and exopolysaccharides beneficial for protecting mucosal integrity and oxidative stress reduction in the intestine and also shown to be beneficial in brain health. Microbiota plays a significant role in maintaining gut and brain health, so it is important to study whether bacterial supplementation will help in maintaining the gut and brain structure after radiation exposure. Methods: In the present study, male C57BL/6 mice were divided into control, radiation, probiotics, and probiotics + radiation groups. On the 7th day, animals in the radiation and probiotics + radiation groups received a single dose of 4 Gy to whole-body. Posttreatment, mice were sacrificed, and the intestine and brain tissues were excised for histological analysis to assess GI and neuronal damage. Results: Radiation-induced damage to the villi height and mucosal thickness was mitigated by the probiotic treatment significantly (p < 0.01). Further, radiation-induced pyknotic cell numbers in the DG, CA2, and CA3 areas were substantially reduced with bacterial supplementation (p < 0.001). Similarly, probiotics reduced neuronal inflammation induced by radiation in the cortex, CA2, and DG region (p < 0.01). Altogether, the probiotics treatment helps mitigate radiation-induced intestinal and neuronal damage. Conclusion: In conclusion, the probiotic formulation could attenuate the number of pyknotic cells in the hippocampal brain region and decrease neuroinflammation by reducing the number of microglial cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3165-3173
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Translational Oncology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 11-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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