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Introduction: Oral mucositis following radiotherapy is still a
major problem in head and neck cancer treatment. Deferoxamine
(DFO), is an iron chelator drug with some properties that might
enable it to be a good treatment option for such cases. Aim of the
study: This work aimed at evaluating the possible effect of DFO
on oral mucositis of the rat’s ventral surface of tongue induced by
irradiation. Materials and methods: 84 male adult Albino rats
were divided equally into 4 groups: group Ⅰ (control): didn’t
receive irradiation or DFO. group Ⅱ (irradiated): received a single
dose of 10 Gray (Gy) irradiation to head and neck. group Ⅲ (DFO
before irradiation): intraperitoneally injected daily with prepared
DFO solution at dose of 50 mg/kg for three successive days before
irradiation to head and neck by 10 Gy single dose of irradiation.
group Ⅳ (DFO after irradiation): intraperitoneally injected daily
with prepared DFO solution at dose of 50 mg/kg for three
successive days after irradiation to head and neck by 10 Gy single
dose of irradiation. Each group was divided equally to three
subgroups A, B, C being sacrificed at six, nine and 12 days
respectively. Their tongues were dissected and the ventral surfaces
were processed for H&E staining and VEGF immunolocalization.
Results: Histologically, irradiated group showed apparent thinning
of epithelium, keratin detachment, cytoplasmic vacuolations,
dilation of BVs & degeneration in LP and muscle fibers. Both
DFO-treated groups (group Ⅲ, Ⅳ) showed improvement in their
histological picture compared to irradiated group in form of
increase in their epithelial thickness, decreased cytoplasmic
vacuolations and minimal degeneration in LP and muscle fibers.
Immunohistochemically, the irradiated group showed faint
localized immunoexpression of VEGF in epithelium and C.T cells
with areas of negative expression. Both DFO-treated groups
(group Ⅲ, Ⅳ) showed marked diffuse VEGF immunopositivity in
the epithelium and positive immunoexpression in C.T cells.
Conclusion: DFO showed positive effect in minimizing the
deteriorative effect of regional radiotherapy on normal oral
Keywords: oral mucositis, deferoxamine, vascular endothelial
growth factor, irradiation, ventral tongue.