Objectives/Hypothesis: Radiotherapy is one of the most effective treatments for head and neck cancer. However, in addition to the target tumor, normal salivary glands are also included in the irradiation field. This unavoidably results in dry mouth syndrome as a side effect. In this study, the protective efficacy of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) was investigated in radiation-damaged salivary glands. Study Design: Prospective animal experiment with control. Methods: Nine-week-old female C57BL/6 mice were divided into three groups. All mice in two of the three groups were irradiated (10 Gy) at the same time. In the bFGF-treated group, bFGF was administered to the submandibular glands for 3 consecutive days after neck irradiation. Mice in the untreated control group were administered distilled water. Mice in the third group were not irradiated and did not receive any additional treatments. Saliva flow rate and submandibular gland morphology were assessed, and the apoptotic response of irradiated submandibular glands was also evaluated. Results: Administration of bFGF improved hyposalivation 8 weeks after irradiation, and histologic analysis revealed that bFGF-treated glands contained more acinar cells compared to untreated glands. The apoptotic response to irradiation, examined 1 and 2 days after irradiation, was reduced, and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction revealed a paracrine effect for bFGF in the glands that received bFGF treatment. Conclusions: Our study indicates that bFGF prevents salivary gland dysfunction after irradiation. The protective benefits of bFGF may be attributed to the inhibition of radiation-induced apoptosis as well as the paracrine effect it has in these tissues.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes