Irradiation Induces Tuft Cell Hyperplasia and Myenteric Neuronal Loss in the Absence of Dietary Fiber in a Mouse Model of Pelvic Radiotherapy

Ulrikke Voss, Dilip Kumar Malipatlolla, Piyush Patel, Sravani Devarakonda, Fei Sjöberg, Rita Grandér, Ana Rascón, Margareta Nyman, Gunnar Steineck, Cecilia Bull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Pelvic radiotherapy is associated with chronic intestinal dysfunction. Dietary approaches, such as fiber enrichment during and after pelvic radiotherapy, have been suggested to prevent or reduce dysfunctions. In the present paper, we aimed to investigate whether a diet rich in fermentable fiber could have a positive effect on radiation-induced intestinal damage, especially focusing on tuft cells and enteric neurons. Male C57BL/6 mice were fed either a purified non-fiber diet or the same purified diet with 5% or 15% oat fiber added, starting two weeks prior to sham-irradiation or irradiation with four fractions of 8 Gray. The animals continued on the diets for 1, 6 or 18 weeks, after which the gross morphology of the colorectum was assessed together with the numbers of enteric neurons, tuft cells and crypt-surface units. The results showed that dietary fiber significantly affected the intestinal morphometrics, both in the short and long-term. The presence of dietary fiber stimulated the re-emergence of crypt-surface unit structures after irradiation. At 18 weeks, the animals fed with the non-fiber diet displayed more myenteric neurons than the animals fed with the dietary fibers, but irradiation resulted in a loss of neurons in the non-fiber fed animals. Irradiation, but not diet, affected the tuft cell numbers, and a significant increase in tuft cells was found 6 and 18 weeks after irradiation. In conclusion, dietary fiber intake has the potential to modify neuronal pathogenesis in the colorectum after irradiation. The long-lasting increase in tuft cells induced by irradiation may reflect an as yet unknown role in the mucosal pathophysiology after pelvic irradiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-102
Number of pages16
JournalGastroenterology Insights
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Bran
  • Diet
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Fiber
  • Irradiation
  • Nutrition
  • Oats
  • Protection
  • Tuft cells


Dive into the research topics of 'Irradiation Induces Tuft Cell Hyperplasia and Myenteric Neuronal Loss in the Absence of Dietary Fiber in a Mouse Model of Pelvic Radiotherapy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this