University of Oulu

Ukkonen, H., Kashyap, B., Sirviö, E., Dekker, H., Vähänikkilä, H., Pirhonen, P., J.W. Mikkonen, J., M ten Bruggenkate, C., AJM Schulten, E., Koistinen, A., Bloemena, E., & M. Kullaa, A. (2020). Effect of Radiotherapy on Expression of Transmembrane Mucin MUC1 in Oral Mucosal Cells. International Journal of Oral-Medical Sciences, 19(2), 99–108.

Effect of radiotherapy on expression of transmembrane mucin MUC1 in oral mucosal cells

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Author: Ukkonen, Helena1,2; Kashyap, Bina3; Sirviö, Ellinoora3;
Organizations: 1Resarch Group of Oral Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, and Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 8000, Oulu 90014, Finland
2Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital, P.O. Box 5000, Oulu 90029, Finland
3Institute of Dentistry, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio campus, and Educational Dental Clinic, Kuopio University Hospital, P.O. Box 1627, Kuopio 70211, Finland
4Amsterdam UMC and Academic Centre for Dentistry Amsterdam(ACTA), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery/Oral Pathology, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
5SIB Labs, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 1627, Kuopio 70211, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 4.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Research Institute of Oral Science, Nihon University School of Dentistry at Matsudo, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-09


Objective: Mucins form a protective surface called mucosal pellicle on oral epithelium. Mucin — 1 (MUC1) is secreted from the oral mucosal squamous epithelium itself on the apical surface of the epithelial cell. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of radiotherapy (RT) on MUC1 expression of the oral epithelium in patients with head and neck cancer (HNC).

Methods: Oral mucosal tissue biopsies were obtained from 55 patients; Study group 1 consisted of 33 clinically healthy subjects as controls. The oncology group consisted of two subgroups: Group 2 consisted of 7 oral cancer patients treated with surgery without RT, and Group 3 consisted of 15 HNC patients treated with RT. To visualized MUC1 staining, HMFG1 antibody was used. In addition, microstructures of the specimens were studied under electron microscopies.

Results: The superficial layer of the oral epithelium had strong MUC1 staining in control samples compared to oncological groups (p=0.002). Intermediate layer showed the most expression of MUC1 in irradiated mucosa (p=0.02). In both oncological groups, the expression of MUC1 was detected on the basal layer (p=0.005). Morphological analysis with electron microscopies showed destruction in the microstructure of apical cells of the irradiated oral epithelium. Irradiated oral mucosa with strong MUC1 expression showed loose intercellular bonds.

Conclusion: Radiotherapy affects the expression of MUC1 in basal and intermediate layers of oral epithelium. Irradiation alters or hinders the intra and intercellular linkages which affects the normal apical transportation of MUC1 and hence, such alteration may play a role in promoting radiation — induced complications.

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Series: International journal of oral-medical sciences
ISSN: 1347-9733
ISSN-E: 2185-4254
ISSN-L: 1347-9733
Volume: 19
Issue: 2
Pages: 99 - 108
DOI: 10.5466/ijoms.19.99
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 313 Dentistry
Funding: The study funded to AMK by Finnish Dental Society Apollonia and to HU by Finnish Dental society Apollonia, The Finnish association of Women Dentists and Orion research foundation.
Copyright information: © 2020 Research Institute of Oral Science Nihon University School of Dentistry at Matsudo. The final authenticated version is available online at