Using hamster as an oral wound healing model, we examined eosinophils and their expression of transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) and transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-beta 1). Oral wounds healed approximately two times faster than their cutaneous counterparts. Eosinophils infiltrated prominently into oral wounds; however, unlike the dual expression of TGF-alpha and TGF-beta 1 in skin wounds, oral wound-associated eosinophils expressed TGF-beta 1, but not TGF-alpha. Because saliva is present in oral environments and contains epidermal growth factor (EGF) and TGF-alpha, sialoadenectomy was performed in this model to determine whether the lack of TGF-alpha expression by eosinophils in oral wounds is due to the presence of salivary EGF and/or TGF-alpha. We found that eosinophils in sialoadenectomized hamsters did express TGF-alpha during oral wound healing but that such expression was suppressed when EGF was added to their drinking water. Taken together, our findings suggest that eosinophil-derived TGF-alpha and salivary TGF-alpha/ EGF may have complementary roles in contributing to TGF-alpha in oral wound healing.