Stem cells as therapy for salivary glands damage due to radiation

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS – Stem cells are cells that do not yet have a specific shape. The existence of these cells is intended to maintain the continued regeneration of cells that make up the tissues or organs of the body when they are damaged by becoming new cells needed by the body. Considering its potential and properties, it can be said that stem cells can be used as an alternative in patients with salivary gland damage due to high doses of radiation.

Dr. Sri Wigati Mardi Mulyani, drg., M. Kes explained that exposure to high doses of radiation can cause damage to the salivary glands which are irreversible. Such damage can result in a drastic reduction in saliva production or hyposalivation. In more severe conditions, called xerostomia.

“One of the factors that influence the success of this therapy is that stem cells must be able to adhere strongly (engraft) and be integrated with the environment of damaged tissue / organ,” said a lecturer known as Dr. Nina.

Dr. Nina explained, one of the factors that influenced the success of therapy was that stem cells were tightly attached to damaged organs. Moreover, stem cells can also integrate with the surrounding environment.

It’s just that, the number of surviving cells is often quite low. It can reduce the effectiveness of therapy.

The low level of viability of survival can be caused by conventional cell culture or cultivation methods which are carried out under normoxic conditions (normal oxygen status), with a concentration of 21% oxygen.

It contradicts the original environment in which the stem cells are from, the condition of hypoxia (environment with low oxygen levels, ed) with a concentration of 1% oxygen.

“In our research, it is known that stem cells in hypoxic conditions have better therapeutic abilities than in normoxic conditions. So, it is hoped that therapy can be used to regenerate salivary gland tissue damaged by radiation, ” she concluded.

Author: Galuh Mega Kurnia

Editor: Nuri Hermawan

Reference :  Mulyani, S. W. M., Astuti, E. R., Wahyuni, O. R. & Ernawati, D. S., 2019. Xerostomia Therapy Due to Ionized Radiation Using Preconditioned Bone Marrow-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells. Eur J Dent, 13(2), pp. 238-242.

 Link : DOI https://doi.org/ 10.1055/s-0039-1694697

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