- Our hypothesis was that combinations of radioprotectors would be more effective than individual agents in minimizing the effects of radiation on the growth plate after single-fraction hind-limb irradiation of Sprague-Dawley rats. At 2 days postirradiation, the decrease in parathyroid hormone-related protein and parathyroid hormone receptor 1 expression in the irradiated growth plate transitional and hypertrophic zones was reversed in both of the combination groups but persisted in the groups treated with the individual drugs. By 2 weeks, positive findings unique to the combination-treatment animals included greater mean proliferation in the irradiated growth plate than on the contralateral side, smaller limb length discrepancies, reversal of the increased overall matrix area fraction, and reversal of the usual deficiency in Indian hedgehog staining in the irradiated hypertrophic zone. While all treatments had a positive effect in reversing the decrease in B-cell leukemia 2 protein and coincident increase in Bax previously observed 2 weeks postirradiation, the two combination groups had a more robust effect. Combinations of radioprotectors may achieve their beneficial additive effects in the growth plate by decreasing the usual early drop in parathyroid hormone-related protein and parathyroid hormone receptor 1 after irradiation, resulting in a cascade of parathyroid hormone-related protein-mediated events.