Prevention of Radiation-Induced Salivary Gland Dysfunction Utilizing a CDK Inhibitor in a Mouse Model

Katie L. Martin, Grace A. Hill, Rob R. Klein, Deborah G. Arnett, Randy M Burd, Kirsten H. Limesand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Background: Treatment of head and neck cancer with radiation often results in damage to surrounding normal tissues such as salivary glands. Permanent loss of function in the salivary glands often leads patients to discontinue treatment due to incapacitating side effects. It has previously been shown that IGF-1 suppresses radiation-induced apoptosis and enhances G2/M arrest leading to preservation of salivary gland function. In an effort to recapitulate the effects of IGF-1, as well as increase the likelihood of translating these findings to the clinic, the small molecule therapeutic Roscovitine, is being tested. Roscovitine is a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that acts to transiently inhibit cell cycle progression and allow for DNA repair in damaged tissues. Methodology/Principal Findings: Treatment with Roscovitine prior to irradiation induced a significant increase in the percentage of cells in the G2/M phase, as demonstrated by flow cytometry. In contrast, mice treated with radiation exhibit no differences in the percentage of cells in G2/M when compared to unirradiated controls. Similar to previous studies utilizing IGF-1, pretreatment with Roscovitine leads to a significant up-regulation of p21 expression and a significant decrease in the number of PCNA positive cells. Radiation treatment leads to a significant increase in activated caspase-3 positive salivary acinar cells, which is suppressed by pretreatment with Roscovitine. Administration of Roscovitine prior to targeted head and neck irradiation preserves normal tissue function in mouse parotid salivary glands, both acutely and chronically, as measured by salivary output. Conclusions/Significance: These studies suggest that induction of transient G2/M cell cycle arrest by Roscovitine allows for suppression of apoptosis, thus preserving normal salivary function following targeted head and neck irradiation. This could have an important clinical impact by preventing the negative side effects of radiation therapy in surrounding normal tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51363
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 7 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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