This experiment was performed to study the morphological responses of the epidermis of the rat scalp, following X-ray irradiation. Male rats were divided into normal and experimental groups. Rats anesthetized with sodium thiopental, were exposed only on their head areas with a single dose of 3,000rads or 6,000rads, respectively. Radiation was produced by Mitsubishi Linea Accelerator ML-4MV at the speed of 200rads/min. The target distance was 80cm. Animals were sacrificed on six hours, two days and six days following irradiation. By the perfusion fixation through the heart, rats were fixed with 1% glutaraldehyde-1% paraformaldehyde solution. Pieces of the tissue taken from the scalp were refixed in 2.5% glutaraldehyde-1.5% paraformaldehyde solution, followed by post-fixation with 1% osmium tetroxide, and embedded within araldite mixture. The sections were cut on a LKB-V ultratome, stained with uranyl acetate and lead citrate, and were observed with JEM 100CX-II electron microscope. The results were as follow; 1. Six hours after exposure to 3,000rads of X-ray. Disrupted intercellular spaces, within which some amorphous materials were filled, disrupted mitochondria, and vacuoles in the keratinocytes were frequently observed, but six days after exposure to 3,000rads of X-ray, Morphology of the keratinocytes was generally restored. 2. Many of the morphological changes were seen on the six days after exposure to 6,000rads of X-ray. 3. Widened intercellular spaces and thickened dense plaques of the desmosomes were frequently observed after exposure to 6,000rads of X-ray. 4. In the experimental groups, the Langerhans and the Merkel cells were damaged, similarly to the keratinocyte. Above results suggest that head irradiation with the dose of 3,000rads temporarily damaged the epidermis of the scalp, though most of the structures recover within six days, whereas with the dose of 6,000rads it severely damaged the epidermis without showing any recovering tendency.
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