Re-engineering primary epithelial cells from rhesus monkey parotid glands for use in developing an artificial salivary gland

Tissue Eng. 2006 Oct;12(10):2939-48. doi: 10.1089/ten.2006.12.2939.


There is no satisfactory conventional treatment for patients who experience irreversible salivary gland damage after therapeutic radiation for head and neck cancer or because of Sjögren's syndrome. Additionally, if most parenchyma is lost, these patients also are not candidates for evolving gene transfer strategies. To help such patients, several years ago we began to develop an artificial salivary gland. In the present study, we used a non-human primate tissue source, parotid glands from rhesus monkeys, to obtain potential autologous graft cells for development of a prototype device for in situ testing. Herein, we present 3 major findings. First, we show that primary cultures of rhesus parotid gland (RPG) cells are capable of attaining a polarized orientation, with Na(+)/K(+)-adenosine triphosphatase, zonula occludens-1, and claudin-1 distributed in specific domains appropriate for epithelial cells. Second, we show that RPG cells exhibit 2 essential epithelial functions required for graft cells in an artificial salivary gland device (i.e., an effective barrier to paracellular water flow and the generation of a moderate transepithelial electrical resistance). Third, we show that RPG cells can express functional water channels, capable of mediating directional fluid movement, after transduction by adenoviral and adeno-associated virus type 2 vectors. Together these results demonstrate that it is feasible to individually prepare RPG cells for eventual use in a prototype artificial salivary gland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioprosthesis*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Equipment Design
  • Equipment Failure Analysis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology
  • Mouth Mucosa / physiology
  • Organ Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Parotid Gland / cytology*
  • Parotid Gland / physiology
  • Salivary Glands / cytology*
  • Salivary Glands / growth & development*
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*