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Effect of dexamethasone on wound healing of the septal mucosa in the rat

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Postoperative treatment after functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) aims to modulate the wound healing process. Systemic or topically applied corticosteroids have been reported to be beneficial for improving nasal wound healing after FESS. However, few studies have investigated the effects of postoperative systemic steroids on nasal wound healing with regard to histological changes. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of systemic dexamethasone on nasal wound healing after mechanical injury in the rat.


A unilateral wound in the nasal cavity was induced using the brushing technique in 4-week-old, Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 70). Dexamethasone (0.15 mg/kg daily for 7 days) and normal saline were administered i.p. to the experimental and control groups (n = 35 for each) after the injury. The rats (n = 7 for each) were killed on days 2, 5, 14, 28, and 42 after the injury. Histological changes in the nasal mucosa were examined and compared using hematoxylin and eosin and Masson's trichrome staining.


The experimental group showed less subepithelial edema formation and epithelial disarray at the early phase of the wound healing period. There were statistically significant differences in the subepithelial thickness and epithelial thickness indices between the experimental and control groups (p < 0.05). Ciliary and goblet cell indices were lower in the experimental group, which means that ciliary and goblet cell regeneration may be delayed by dexamethasone (p < 0.05). There were no differences in the subepithelial fibrosis index between the two groups. Adhesion formation between the nasal septum and turbinate were found only in the control group.


Systemic dexamethasone after mucosal injury may lessen subepithelial edema, goblet cell hyperplasia, and adhesion formation; however, it may cause delayed mucosal ciliary regeneration.

Keywords: Corticosteroids; Sprague-Dawley; dexamethasone; epithelium; fibrosis; goblet cells; histology; nasal mucosa; rat; wound healing

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Otorhinolaryngology, College of Medicine, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju, Korea

Publication date: May 1, 2011

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