Background: Ablation of the thyroid tissue using radioactive iodine (RAI) after the surgical removal of well-differentiated thyroid cancer can induce radiation-related salivary gland (SG) dysfunction. However, in vivo changes of SGs after RAI administration in appropriate animal models are not well described in the literature. This study was undertaken to document morphometric and functional changes during the 12 months after RAI administration in a murine model of RAI-induced SG dysfunction. Methods: Four-week-old female C57BL/6 mice (n=60) were divided into an RAI-treated group (n=30) that received RAI orally (0.01 mCi/g body weight) and an unexposed control group (n=30). Mice in both groups were divided into five subgroups (n=6 per subgroup) and euthanized at 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 months post-RAI administration. Salivary flow rates and salivary lag times were measured at 1, 2, 3, 6, and 12 months after RAI administration. Morphological and histological examinations and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling assays were performed. In addition, changes in salivary 99mTc pertechnetate uptake and excretion were observed by single-photon emission computed tomography. Results: In RAI-treated mice, the SGs were significantly lighter than those of unexposed controls at all study time points. Lag times to salivation in the RAI-treated group were greater than in the unexposed controls, but mean salivary flow rates were lower. Histologic examinations of SGs in the RAI group showed pale cytoplasm, atypical ductal configuration, septal widening, cytoplasmic vacuolization with pleomorphism, lymphocyte infiltration, and increased fibrosis. Furthermore, more apoptotic cells were observed in acini and ducts in the RAI group. In addition, patterns of 99mTc pertechnetate uptake and excretion in the RAI group were quite different from those observed in controls at 1 and 12 months post-RAI. Conclusion: Various histological alterations were observed in mice exposed to RAI, that is, an increase in apoptotic acini and ductal cells and functional SG deterioration. The murine model of RAI-induced SG dysfunction used in the present study appears to be applicable to preclinical research on RAI-induced sialadenitis in patients with well-differentiated thyroid cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism