Effect of ionizing radiation on sympathetic nerve function in rat parotid glands

W. G. Kohn*, E. Grossman, P. C. Fox, I. Armando, D. S. Goldstein, B. J. Baum

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ionizing radiation (IR) irreversibly damages salivary glands. The pathologic mechanism is unknown. Previously we reported that parotid serous acinar cells may not be the primary site of damage by IR. The purpose of this study was to determine if IR alters sympathetic nerve function in rat parotid glands. Male adult rats received a single dose of radiation (20 Gy) to the head and neck. Three days after IR, parotid saliva secretion induced by norepinephrine (NE) was completely blocked. Catecholamine uptake and metabolism were studied by injecting [3H] dopamine ([3H]DA) into irradiated rats, as a bolus. After 60 min, animals were sacrificed and the parotid gland, submandibular gland, and left ventricle removed. Tissue contents of [3H]DA and [3H]NE, identified by HPLC, were unaffected by IR. The results indicate that IR abolishes acinar responsiveness to NE without affecting parotid sympathetic nerve function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-137
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Oral Pathology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • dopamine
  • ionizing radiation
  • norepinephrine
  • parotid gland
  • saliva secretion
  • sympathetic innervation


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