Purpose: To determine (a) whether a wound dressing gel that contains acemannan extracted from aloe leaves affects the severity of radiation-induced acute skin reactions in C3H mice; (b) if so, whether other commercially available gels such as a personal lubricating jelly and a healing ointment have similar effects; and (c) when the wound dressing gel should be applied for maximum effect.
Methods and materials: Male C3H mice received graded single doses of gamma radiation ranging from 30 to 47.5 Gy to the right leg. In most experiments, the gel was applied daily beginning immediately after irradiation. To determine timing of application for best effect, gel was applied beginning on day -7, 0, or +7 relative to the day of irradiation (day 0) and continuing for 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 weeks. The right inner thigh of each mouse was scored on a scale of 0 to 3.5 for severity of radiation reaction from the seventh to the 35th day after irradiation. Dose-response curves were obtained by plotting the percentage of mice that reached or exceeded a given peak skin reaction as a function of dose. Curves were fitted by logit analysis and ED50 values, and 95% confidence limits were obtained.
Results: The average peak skin reactions of the wound dressing gel-treated mice were lower than those of the untreated mice at all radiation doses tested. The ED50 values for skin reactions of 2.0-2.75 were approximately 7 Gy higher in the wound dressing gel-treated mice. The average peak skin reactions and the ED50 values for mice treated with personal lubricating jelly or healing ointment were similar to irradiated control values. Reduction in the percentage of mice with skin reactions of 2.5 or more was greatest in the groups that received wound dressing gel for at least 2 weeks beginning immediately after irradiation. There was no effect if gel was applied only before irradiation or beginning 1 week after irradiation.
Conclusion: Wound dressing gel, but not personal lubricating jelly or healing ointment, reduces acute radiation-induced skin reactions in C3H mice if applied daily for at least 2 weeks beginning immediately after irradiation.