International journal of molecular sciences

Radioprotective Effects of Dermatan Sulfate in a Preclinical Model of Oral Mucositis-Targeting Inflammation, Hypoxia and Junction Proteins without Stimulating Proliferation.

PMID 29882770


Oral mucositis is the most frequently occurring early side effect of head-and-neck cancer radiotherapy. Systemic dermatan sulfate (DS) treatment revealed a significant radioprotective potential in a preclinical model of oral mucositis. This study was initiated to elucidate the mechanistic effects of DS in the same model. Irradiation comprised daily fractionated irradiation (5 × 3 Gy/week) over two weeks, either alone (IR) or in combination with daily dermatan sulfate treatment of 4 mg/kg (IR + DS). Groups of mice (n = 5) were sacrificed every second day over the course of 14 days in both experimental arms, their tongues excised and evaluated. The response to irradiation with and without DS was analyzed on a morphological (cell numbers, epithelial thickness) as well as on a functional (proliferation and expression of inflammation, hypoxia and epithelial junction markers) level. The mucoprotective activity of DS can be attributed to a combination of various effects, comprising increased expression of epithelial junctions, reduced inflammation and reduced hypoxia. No DS-mediated effect on proliferation was observed. DS demonstrated a significant mucositis-ameliorating activity and could provide a promising strategy for mucositis treatment, based on targeting specific, radiation-induced, mucositis-associated signaling without stimulating proliferation.

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