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[en] During head and neck cancer radiotherapy, oral mucositis is the most frequent early side effect. Systemic dermatan sulfate (DS) administration has been shown to significantly decrease oral mucosal radiation reactions during daily fractionated irradiation (IR) in an established mouse model. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism of the oral epithelial differentiation process, during IR alone and in combination with DS treatment in the same mouse model. Fractionated IR 5 × 3 Gy/week was given to the snouts of mice over two weeks, either alone (IR) or in combination with daily DS treatment of 4 mg/kg (IR + DS). Groups of mice (n = 3) were sacrificed every second day over the course of 14 days in both experimental arms. Their tongue was excised and subjected to immunohistochemical processing. In the p16 analysis as a proliferation marker, the difference between IR alone and IR + DS in the germinal (proliferation) layer was not significant, not stimulating the proliferation process. For the p21 analysis as a differentiation marker on the functional (differentiation) layer, the difference between IR alone and IR + DS arms was significant, indicating that DS inhibited the differentiation process. In the cytokeratin (CK) analysis as the indicator of cellular skeletal integrity, the percentage of antibody-positive cells was above the normal level in both experimental arms and significantly superior in the IR + DS arm. The mucosal protective activity of DS, instead of stimulating proliferation, is based on prevention of cell loss by a combination of effects leading to the inhibition of cellular differentiation and an increase in the expression of epithelial mechanical strength between intercellular mechanical junctions.