Isolation of Myoepithelial Cells from Adult Murine Lacrimal and Submandibular Glands

This article has been accepted and is currently in production


The lacrimal gland (LG) is an exocrine tubuloacinar gland that secretes an aqueous layer of tear film. The LG epithelial tree is comprised of acinar, ductal epithelial, and myoepithelial cells (MECs). MECs express alpha smooth muscle actin (αSMA) and have a contractile function. They are found in multiple glandular organs and are of ectodermal origin. In addition, the LG contains SMA+ vascular smooth muscle cells of endodermal origin called pericytes: contractile cells that envelop the surface of vascular tubes. A new protocol allows us to isolate both MECs and pericytes from adult murine LGs and submandibular glands (SMGs). The protocol is based on the genetic labeling of MECs and pericytes using the SMACreErt2/+:Rosa26-TdTomatofl/fl mouse strain, followed by preparation of the LG single-cell suspension for fluorescence activated cell sorting (FACS). The protocol allows for the separation of these two cell populations of different origins based on the expression of the epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) by MECs, whereas pericytes do not express EpCAM. Isolated cells could be used for cell cultivation or gene expression analysis.