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A Novel Mouse Model of Cutaneous Radiation Injury

Thanik, Vishal D. M.D.; Chang, Christopher C. M.D.; Zoumalan, Richard A. M.D.; Lerman, Oren Z. M.D.; Allen, Robert J. Jr. M.D.; Nguyen, Phuong D. M.D.; Warren, Stephen M. M.D.; Coleman, Sydney R. M.D.; Hazen, Alexes M.D.

Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: February 2011 - Volume 127 - Issue 2 - p 560-568
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181fed4f7
Experimental: Original Articles

Background: Radiation therapy is a cornerstone of oncologic treatment. Skin tolerance is often the limiting factor in radiotherapy. To study these issues and create modalities for intervention, the authors developed a novel murine model of cutaneous radiation injury.

Methods: The dorsal skin was isolated using a low-pressure clamp and irradiated. Mice were followed for 8 weeks with serial photography and laser Doppler analysis. Sequential skin biopsy specimens were taken and examined histologically. Tensiometry was performed and Young's modulus calculated.

Results: High-dose radiation isolated to dorsal skin causes progressive changes in skin perfusion, resulting in dermal thickening, fibrosis, persistent alopecia, and sometimes ulceration. There is increased dermal Smad3 expression, and decreased elasticity and bursting strength.

Conclusions: This model of cutaneous radiation injury delivers reproducible localized effects, mimicking the injury pattern seen in human subjects. This technique can be used to study radiation-induced injury to evaluate preventative and therapeutic strategies for these clinical issues.

New York, N.Y.

From the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Laboratories, New York University School of Medicine.

Received for publication January 26, 2010; accepted July 14, 2010.

Disclosure: Dr. Coleman receives royalties from Byron Medical and is an advisor with stock options with Becon Medical and Cytori Therapeutics. No other author has a financial interest to declare.

Vishal Thanik, M.D.; Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery Laboratories; New York University School of Medicine; 560 First Avenue, TH-169; New York, N.Y. 10016

©2011American Society of Plastic Surgeons