Radiation therapy is a mainstay in the treatment of many malignancies, but collateral damage to surrounding tissue, with resultant hypovascularity, fibrosis, and atrophy, can be difficult to reconstruct. Fat grafting has been shown to improve the quality of irradiated skin, but volume retention of the graft is significantly decreased. Deferoxamine is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved iron-chelating medication for acute iron intoxication and chronic iron overload that has also been shown to increase angiogenesis. The present study evaluates the effects of deferoxamine treatment on irradiated skin and subsequent fat graft volume retention.Mice underwent irradiation to the scalp followed by treatment with deferoxamine or saline and perfusion and were analyzed using laser Doppler analysis. Human fat grafts were then placed beneath the scalp and retention was also followed up to 8 weeks radiographically. Finally, histologic evaluation of overlying skin was performed to evaluate the effects of deferoxamine preconditioning.Treatment with deferoxamine resulted in significantly increased perfusion, as demonstrated by laser Doppler analysis and CD31 immunofluorescent staining (p < 0.05). Increased dermal thickness and collagen content secondary to irradiation, however, were not affected by deferoxamine (p > 0.05). Importantly, fat graft volume retention was significantly increased when the irradiated recipient site was preconditioned with deferoxamine (p < 0.05).The authors' results demonstrated increased perfusion with deferoxamine treatment, which was also associated with improved fat graft volume retention. Preconditioning with deferoxamine may thus enhance fat graft outcomes for soft-tissue reconstruction following radiation therapy.
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