An in vitro model of human oral explants to study early effects of radiation mucositis

Elena Donetti, Marzia Bedoni, Paolo Capone, Alice Gualerzi, Gianluca Tartaglia, Chiarella Sforza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mucositis is a frequent problem after irradiation of the oral mucosa. To study the early effects of irradiation on the desmosomal adhesion complex, explants of keratinized oral mucosa were exposed to a single dose of 2 Gy gamma irradiation. Biopsies were obtained from the upper dental arch of nine young healthy non-smoking women undergoing minor oral surgery. The biopsies were incubated in a Transwell culture system and, after irradiation, fixed in formalin 24 h later. Morphometric measurements of epithelial thickness revealed that it was unaffected by exposure to ionizing rays. Immunofluorescence analysis of desmosomal cadherin expression (desmoglein 1/desmoglein 3) demonstrated that the distribution of desmoglein 1 was not affected, whereas the expression of desmoglein 3 decreased in the suprabasal layers of irradiated samples. It is suggested that this has consequences for the mechanical integrity of the mucosa and promotes the development of radiation mucositis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-174
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Oral Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine
  • Desmoglein 1
  • Desmoglein 3
  • Human oral keratinocytes
  • Ionizing rays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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