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Protective Effects of Korean Red Ginseng on Radiation-Induced Oral Mucositis in a Preclinical Rat Model

Chang, Jae Won, Choi, Jae Won, Lee, Bum Hei, Park, Ju Kyeong, Shin, Yoo Seob, Oh, Young-Taek, Noh, O Kyu, Kim, Chul-Ho
Nutrition and cancer 2014 v.66 no.3 pp. 400-407
Panax, animal models, apoptosis, body weight, caspase-3, death, immunohistochemistry, irradiation, mucosa, nutrition, protective effect, radiotherapy, rats, signal transduction, survival rate, tongue
Numerous studies' attempts to improve radiation-induced oral mucositis have not produced a qualified treatment yet. Our aim was to investigate the effectiveness of Korean red ginseng (KRG) on radiation-induced damage in an in vivo rat model. After 20 Gy of irradiation, rats were divided randomly into the following 4 groups: control, KRG only, radiotherapy (RT) only, and RT + KRG group. The rats were monitored in terms of survival rate, activity, mucositis grade, oral intake, and body weight. The tongue, buccal mucosa, and submandibular gland (SMG) were harvested, and the weight of the SMG was analyzed. The samples then underwent hematoxylin and eosin, TUNEL, and immunohistochemical staining. Radiation-induced severe oral mucositis and SMG injury led to poor oral intake and delayed healing, resulting in the death of some rats. We found that survival rate, oral intake, and body weight increased. Moreover, rats treated with KRG showed less severe mucositis and decreased histologic changes of the oral mucosa and SMG. Furthermore, we showed that the protective effects of KRG were caused by inhibition of the apoptotic signal transduction pathway linked to caspase-3. In conclusion, KRG protects the oral mucosa and SMG from radiation-induced damage by inhibiting caspase-mediated apoptosis in rats.