Nanduri LS, Maimets M, Pringle SA, van der Zwaag M, van Os RP, Coppes RP

Radiother Oncol 2011 Jun;99(3):367-72

PMID: 21719134


BACKGROUND: Stem cell therapy could be a potential way for reducing radiation-induced hyposalivation and improving the patient’s quality of life. However, the identification and purification of salivary gland stem cells have not been accomplished. This study aims to better characterize the stem/progenitor cell population with regenerative potential residing in the mouse salivary gland.

METHODS: Mouse submandibular gland tissue, isolated cells and cultured 3 day old salispheres were tested for their expression of stem cell markers c-Kit, CD133, CD49f, and CD24 using immunohistochemistry for tissue and flow cytometry for cells. Mice were locally irradiated with a single dose of 15 Gy and transplanted with cells expressing defined markers.

RESULTS: Cells expressing known stem cell markers are localized in the larger ducts of the mouse salivary gland. Isolated cells and cells from day 3 salispheres also express these markers: c-Kit (0.058% vs. 0.65%), CD133 (6% vs. 5%), CD49f (78% vs. 51%), and CD24 (60% vs. 60%, respectively). Intraglandular transplantation of these cells into irradiated salivary glands of mice resulted in stem cell marker-specific recovery of salivary gland function.

CONCLUSIONS: Different stem cell-associated markers are expressed in mouse salivary gland cells, which upon transplantation are able to regenerate the irradiation damaged salivary gland.

Regeneration of irradiated salivary glands with stem cell marker expressing cells
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