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    Progress in the development of salivary gland regenerative strategies is limited by poor maintenance of the secretory function of salivary gland cells (SGCs) in vitro. To reduce the precipitous loss of secretory function, a modified approach to isolate intact acinar cell clusters and intercalated ducts (AIDUCs), rather than commonly used single cell suspension, is investigated. This isolation approach yields AIDUCs that maintain many of the cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions of intact glands. Encapsulation of AIDUCs in matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-degradable PEG hydrogels promotes self-assembly into salivary gland mimetics (SGm) with acinar-like structure. Expression of Mist1, a transcription factor associated with secretory function, is detectable throughout the in vitro culture period up to 14 days. Immunohistochemistry also confirms expression of acinar cell markers (NKCC1, PIP and AQP5), duct cell markers (K7 and K5), and myoepithelial cell markers (SMA). Robust carbachol and ATP-stimulated calcium flux is observed within the SGm for up to 14 days after encapsulation, indicating that secretory function is maintained. Though some acinar-to-ductal metaplasia is observed within SGm, it is reduced compared to previous reports. In conclusion, cell-cell interactions maintained within AIDUCs together with the hydrogel microenvironment may be a promising platform for salivary gland regenerative strategies. © 2022 Wiley-VCH GmbH.


    Yuanhui Song, Azmeer Sharipol, Hitoshi Uchida, Matthew H Ingalls, Lindsay Piraino, Jared A Mereness, Tracey Moyston, Lisa A DeLouise, Catherine E Ovitt, Danielle S W Benoit. Encapsulation of Primary Salivary Gland Acinar Cell Clusters and Intercalated Ducts (AIDUCs) within Matrix Metalloproteinase (MMP)-Degradable Hydrogels to Maintain Tissue Structure and Function. Advanced healthcare materials. 2022 Apr;11(7):e2101948

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    PMID: 34994104

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