Background Radiation therapy (RT) as part head and neck cancer treatment often leads to irradiation of surrounding normal tissue, such as mandibular bone. A reduced reparative capacity of the bone can lead to osteoradionecrosis (ORN). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is used to treat ORN, based on its potential to raise the oxygen tension in tissues. However, prevention of radiation-induced damage is of great interest. Our purpose was to investigate whether HBOT could prevent radiation-induced damage to murine mandibles. Methods Twenty-eight mice were irradiated in the head and neck region with a single dose (15 Gy) and half of them were subsequently subjected to HBOT. Another 14 mice did not receive any treatment and served as controls. Ten and 24 weeks after RT, mandibles were harvested and analysed histologically and by microcomputed tomography (micro-CT). Results Micro-CT analysis showed a reduction in relative bone volume by RT, which was partly recovered by HBOT. Trabecular thickness and separation were also positively influenced by HBOT. Morphologically, HBOT suppressed the osteoclast number, indicating decreased resorption, and decreased the amount of lacunae devoid of osteocytes, indicating increased bone viability. Conclusions HBOT was able to partly reduce radiation-induced effects on microarchitectural parameters, resorption, and bone viability in mouse mandibles. HBOT could therefore potentially play a role in the prevention of radiation-induced damage to human mandibular bone.

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Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Spiegelberg, L., Braks, J. A. M., Groeneveldt, L. C., Djasim, U., van der Wal, K., & Wolvius, E. (2015). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as a prevention modality for radiation damage in the mandibles of mice. Journal of Cranio-Maxillofacial Surgery, 43(2), 214–219. doi:10.1016/j.jcms.2014.11.008