Irradiation (IR) is a fundamental treatment modality for head and neck malignancies. However, a significant drawback of IR treatment is irreversible damage of salivary gland in the IR field. In the present study, we investigated whether heat shock protein (HSP) 25 could be used as a radioprotective molecule for radiation-induced salivary gland damage in rats. HSP25 as well as inducible HSP70 (HSP70i) that were delivered to the salivary gland via an adenoviral vector significantly ameliorated radiation-induced salivary fluid loss. Radiation-induced apoptosis, caspase-3 activation, and poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage in acinar cells, granular convoluted cells, and intercalated ductal cells were also inhibited by HSP25 or HSP70i transfer. The alteration of salivary contents, including amylase, protein, Ca+, Cl-, and Na+, was also attenuated by HSP25 transfer. Histological analysis revealed almost no radiation-induced damage in salivary gland when HSP25 was transferred. Aquaporin 5 expression in salivary gland was inhibited by radiation; and HSP25 transfer to salivary gland prevented this alteration. The protective effect of HSP70i on radiation-induced salivary gland damage was less or delayed than that of HSP25. These results indicate that HSP25 is a good candidate molecule to protect salivary gland from the toxicity of IR.