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Diverse epithelial cell populations contribute to the regeneration of secretory units in injured salivary glands.


ABSTRACT: Salivary glands exert exocrine secretory function to provide saliva for lubrication and protection of the oral cavity. Its epithelium consists of several differentiated cell types, including acinar, ductal and myoepithelial cells, that are maintained in a lineage-restricted manner during homeostasis or after mild injuries. Glandular regeneration following a near complete loss of secretory cells, however, may involve cellular plasticity, although the mechanism and extent of such plasticity remain unclear. Here, by combining lineage-tracing experiments with a model of severe glandular injury in the mouse submandibular gland, we show that de novo formation of acini involves induction of cellular plasticity in multiple non-acinar cell populations. Fate-mapping analysis revealed that, although ductal stem cells marked by cytokeratin K14 and Axin2 undergo a multipotency switch, they do not make a significant contribution to acinar regeneration. Intriguingly, more than 80% of regenerated acini derive from differentiated cells, including myoepithelial and ductal cells, that appear to dedifferentiate to a progenitor-like state before re-differentiation into acinar cells. The potential of diverse cell populations serving as a reserve source for acini widens the therapeutic options for hyposalivation.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7561486 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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