Structural and functional injury in minipig salivary glands following fractionated exposure to 70 Gy of ionizing radiation: An animal model for human radiation-induced salivary gland injury

Lida Radfar, David A. Sirois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This study explored the feasibility of developing an animal model for radiation-induced salivary gland injury with a radiation protocol identical to current clinical practice. Three male Hanford minipigs were subjected to fractionated daily irradiation with a total dose of 70 Gy; structural and functional measures were compared with those of a control group of minipigs. We found that irradiated submandibular and parotid glands were one-third to one-half the gross size of control glands. Whereas no pathologic changes were noted in control glands, irradiated glands consistently demonstrated significant parenchymal loss with extensive acinar atrophy and interstitial fibrosis, enlarged nuclei in remaining acinar cells, and ductal dilatation and proliferation. Stimulated salivary flow was reduced by 81% in irradiated animals compared with preirradiation flow (P < .001); salivary flow in the control group increased by 30% during the same period (P < .001). The observed radiation-induced structural and functional salivary gland changes are comparable in every respect to those observed following irradiation of human salivary glands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalOral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology, oral radiology, and endodontics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)

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