Regenerative medicine holds promise to cure radiation-induced salivary hypofunction, a chronic side effect in patients with head and neck cancers, therefore reliable preclinical models for salivary regenerative outcome will promote progress towards therapies. In this study, our objective was to develop a cone beam computed tomography-guided precision ionizing radiation-induced preclinical model of chronic hyposalivation using immunodeficient NSGSGM3 mice. Using a Schirmer's test based sialagogue-stimulated saliva flow kinetic measurement method, we demonstrated significant differences in hyposalivation specific to age, sex, precision-radiation dose over a chronic (6 months) timeline. NSG-SMG3 mice tolerated doses from 2.5 Gy up to 7.5 Gy. Interestingly, 5-7.5 Gy had similar effects on stimulated-saliva flow (∼50% reduction in young female at 6 months after precision irradiation over sham-treated controls), however, >5 Gy led to chronic alopecia. Different groups demonstrated characteristic saliva fluctuations early on, but after 5 months all groups nearly stabilized stimulated-saliva flow with low-inter-mouse variation within each group. Further characterization revealed precision-radiation-induced glandular shrinkage, hypocellularization, gland-specific loss of functional acinar and glandular cells in all major salivary glands replicating features of human salivary hypofunction. This model will aid investigation of human cell-based salivary regenerative therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging