The c-Kit pathway is important in the development of many mammalian cells and organs and is indispensable for the development of hematopoiesis, melanocytes, and primordial germ cells. Loss-of-function mutations in c-Kit lead to perinatal death in mouse embryos. Previously, c-Kit has been used as one of salivary epithelial stem or progenitor cell markers in mouse, its specific temporo-spatial expression pattern and function in developing murine submandibular gland (SMG) is still unclear. Here we used quantitative real-time PCR, in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry analysis to detect c-Kit expression during the development of the murine SMG. We found that c-Kit was expressed in the epithelia of developing SMGs from embryonic day 11.5 (E11.5; initial bud stage) to postnatal day 90 (P90; when the SMG is completely mature). c-Kit expression in the end bud epithelium increased during prenatal development and then gradually decreased after birth until its expression was undetectable in mature acini at P30. Moreover, c-Kit was expressed in the SMG primordial cord at the initial bud, pseudoglandular, canacular, and terminal end bud stages. c-Kit was also expressed in the presumptive ductal cells adjacent to the developing acini. By the late terminal end bud stage on P14, c-Kit expression could not be detected in ductal cells. However, c-Kit expression was detected in ductal cells at P30, and its expression had increased dramatically at P90. Taken together, these findings describe the spatial and temporal expression pattern of c-Kit in the developing murine SMG and suggest that c-Kit may play roles in epithelial histo-morphogenesis and in ductal progenitor cell homeostasis in the SMG.
Tendon/ligament injures are leading disabilities worldwide. The periodontal ligament (PDL) connects teeth to bone, and is comparable to a tendon/ligament-to-bone insertion. PDL-derived cells (PDLCs) express both osteo/cementogenesis and teno/ligamentogenesis genes. However, an efficient method to induce a tenogenic differentiation of PDLCs has not been thoroughly examined. Therefore, this study tested if growth/differentiation factors (GDFs) enhanced tenogenic characteristics of human PDLCs, as a potential cell source for tendon/ligament engineering. Results demonstrated recombinant GDF-5/GDF-7 inhibited alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity of PDLCs from passage 3 to 6, while GDF-5 enhanced ALP in dental pulp-derived cells and mesenchymal stem cells. GDF-5 (particularly at 10 ng/ml concentration) induced high expression of both early (scleraxis) and mature (tenomodulin, aggrecan, collagen3) tenogenic genes in P4-6 PDLCs, while inhibiting expression of specific transcription-factors for osteogenic, chondrogenic and adipogenic differentiation. Exogenous GDFs might lead PDLCs being expanded in culture during several passages to highly useful cell source for tendon/ligament engineering.
There are reports that bone marrow cell (BM) transplants repaired irradiated salivary glands (SGs) and re-established saliva secretion. However, the mechanisms of action behind these reports have not been elucidated.
Severe salivary gland hypofunction is frequently found in patients with Sjögrens syndrome and those who receiving therapeutic irradiation in their head and neck regions for cancer treatment. Both groups of patients experience symptoms such as xerostomia (dry mouth), dysphagia (impaired chewing and swallowing), severe dental caries, altered taste, oro-pharyngeal infections (candidiasis), mucositis, pain and discomfort. One innovative approach of regenerative medicine for the treatment of salivary gland hypo-function is speculated in RS Redman, E Mezey et al. 2009: stem cells can be directly deposited by cannulation into the gland as a potent method in reviving the functions of the impaired organ. Presumably, the migrated foreign stem cells will differentiate into glandular cells to function as part of the host salivary gland. Also, this cannulation technique is an expedient and effective delivery method for clinical gene transfer application. Here we illustrate the steps involved in performing the cannulation procedure on the mouse submandibular salivary gland via the Whartons duct (Fig 1). C3H mice (Charles River, Montreal, QC, Canada) are used for this experiment, which have been kept under clean conventional conditions at the McGill University animal resource center. All experiments have been approved by the University Animal Care Committee and were in accordance with the guidelines of the Canadian Council on Animal Care. For this experiment, a trypan blue solution is infused into the gland through the opening of the Whartons duct using a insulin syringe with a 29-gauge needle encased inside a polyethylene tube. Subsequently, the mouse is dissected to show that the infusions migrated into the gland successfully.
Treatment for most patients with head and neck cancers includes ionizing radiation. A consequence of this treatment is irreversible damage to salivary glands (SGs), which is accompanied by a loss of fluid-secreting acinar-cells and a considerable decrease of saliva output. While there are currently no adequate conventional treatments for this condition, cell-based therapies are receiving increasing attention to regenerate SGs. In this study, we investigated whether bone marrow-derived cells (BMDCs) can differentiate into salivary epithelial cells and restore SG function in head and neck irradiated mice. BMDCs from male mice were transplanted into the tail-vein of 18Gy-irradiated female mice. Salivary output was increased in mice that received BMDCs transplantation at week 8 and 24 post-irradiation. At 24 weeks after irradiation (IR), harvested SGs (submandibular and parotid glands) of BMDC-treated mice had greater weights than those of non-treated mice. Histological analysis shows that SGs of treated mice demonstrated an increased level of tissue regenerative activity such as blood vessel formation and cell proliferation, while apoptotic activity was increased in non-transplanted mice. The expression of stem cell markers (Sca-1 or c-kit) was detected in BMDC-treated SGs. Finally, we detected an increased ratio of acinar-cell area and approximately 9% of Y-chromosome-positive (donor-derived) salivary epithelial cells in BMDC-treated mice. We propose here that cell therapy using BMDCs can rescue the functional damage of irradiated SGs by direct differentiation of donor BMDCs into salivary epithelial cells.
Up to 25% of the circulating nitrate in blood is actively taken up, concentrated, and secreted into saliva by the salivary glands. Salivary nitrate can be reduced to nitrite by the commensal bacteria in the oral cavity or stomach and then further converted to nitric oxide (NO) in vivo, which may play a role in gastric protection. However, whether salivary nitrate is actively secreted in human beings has not yet been determined. This study was designed to determine whether salivary nitrate is actively secreted in human beings as an acute stress response and what role salivary nitrate plays in stress-induced gastric injury. To observe salivary nitrate function under stress conditions, alteration of salivary nitrate and nitrite was analyzed among 22 healthy volunteers before and after a strong stress activity, jumping down from a platform at the height of 68 m. A series of stress indexes was analyzed to monitor the stress situation. We found that both the concentration and the total amount of nitrate in mixed saliva were significantly increased in the human volunteers immediately after the jump, with an additional increase 1h later (p<0.01). Saliva nitrite reached a maximum immediately after the jump and was maintained 1h later. To study the biological functions of salivary nitrate and nitrite in stress protection, we further carried out a water-immersion-restraint stress (WIRS) assay in male adult rats with bilateral parotid and submandibular duct ligature (BPSDL). Intragastric nitrate, nitrite, and NO; gastric mucosal blood flow; and gastric ulcer index (UI) were monitored and nitrate was administrated in drinking water to compensate for nitrate secretion in BPSDL animals. Significantly decreased levels of intragastric nitrate, nitrite, and NO and gastric mucosal blood flow were measured in BPSDL rats during the WIRS assay compared to sham control rats (p<0.05). Recovery was observed in the BPSDL rats upon nitrate administration. The WIRS-induced UI was significantly higher in the BPSDL animals compared to controls, and nitrate administration rescued the WIRS-induced gastric injury in BPSDL rats. In conclusion, this study suggests that stress promotes salivary nitrate secretion and nitrite formation, which may play important roles in gastric protection against stress-induced injury via the nitrate-dependent NO pathway.
In vivo recycling of nitrate (NO(3)(-)) and nitrite (NO(2)(-)) is an important alternative pathway for the generation of nitric oxide (NO) and maintenance of systemic nitrate-nitrite-NO balance. More than 25% of the circulating NO(3)(-) is actively removed and secreted by salivary glands. Oral commensal bacteria convert salivary NO(3)(-) to NO(2)(-), which enters circulation and leads to NO generation. The transporters for NO(3)(-) in salivary glands have not yet been identified. Here we report that sialin (SLC17A5), mutations in which cause Salla disease and infantile sialic acid storage disorder (ISSD), functions as an electrogenic 2NO(3)(-)/H(+) cotransporter in the plasma membrane of salivary gland acinar cells. We have identified an extracellular pH-dependent anion current that is carried by NO(3)(-) or sialic acid (SA), but not by Br(-), and is accompanied by intracellular acidification. Both responses were reduced by knockdown of sialin expression and increased by the plasma membrane-targeted sialin mutant (L22A-L23A). Fibroblasts from patients with ISSD displayed reduced SA- and NO(3)(-)-induced currents compared with healthy controls. Furthermore, expression of disease-associated sialin mutants in fibroblasts and salivary gland cells suppressed the H(+)-dependent NO(3)(-) conductance. Importantly, adenovirus-dependent expression of the sialinH183R mutant in vivo in pig salivary glands decreased NO(3)(-) secretion in saliva after intake of a NO(3)(-)-rich diet. Taken together, these data demonstrate that sialin mediates nitrate influx into salivary gland and other cell types. We suggest that the 2NO(3)(-)/H(+) transport function of sialin in salivary glands can contribute significantly to clearance of serum nitrate, as well as nitrate recycling and physiological nitrite-NO homeostasis.
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