3 years ago

Bottom-up assembly of salivary gland microtissues for assessing myoepithelial cell function

Myoepithelial cells are flat, stellate cells present in exocrine tissues including the salivary glands. While myoepithelial cells have been studied extensively in mammary and lacrimal gland tissues, less is known of the function of myoepithelial cells derived from human salivary glands. Several groups have isolated tumorigenic myoepithelial cells from cancer specimens, however, only one report has demonstrated isolation of normal human salivary myoepithelial cells needed for use in salivary gland tissue engineering applications. Establishing a functional organoid model consisting of myoepithelial and secretory acinar cells is therefore necessary for understanding the coordinated action of these two cell types in unidirectional fluid secretion. Here, we developed a bottom-up approach for generating salivary gland microtissues using primary human salivary myoepithelial cells (hSMECs) and stem/progenitor cells (hS/PCs) isolated from normal salivary gland tissues. Phenotypic characterization of isolated hSMECs confirmed that a myoepithelial cell phenotype consistent with that from other exocrine tissues was maintained over multiple passages of culture. Additionally, hSMECs secreted basement membrane proteins, expressed adrenergic and cholinergic neurotransmitter receptors, and released intracellular calcium [Ca2+ i] in response to parasympathetic agonists. In a collagen I contractility assay, activation of contractile machinery was observed in isolated hSMECs treated with parasympathetic agonists. Recombination of hSMECs with assembled hS/PC spheroids in a microwell system was used to create microtissues resembling secretory complexes of the salivary gland. We conclude that the engineered salivary gland microtissue complexes provide a physiologically relevant model for both mechanistic studies and as a building block for the successful engineering of the salivary gland for restoration of salivary function in patients suffering from hyposalivation.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0142961217304726

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