Chitinase expression in parotid glands of non-obese diabetic mice

Oral Dis. 2012 Jul;18(5):506-12. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-0825.2012.01904.x. Epub 2012 Feb 6.


Objective: This investigation was a basal study that used a mouse model of xerostomia to identify protein biomarkers of xerostomia in saliva. We identified genes expressed differently in parotid glands from non-obese diabetic mice with diabetes and those from control mice; subsequently, we investigated expression of the proteins encoded by these genes in parotid glands and saliva.

Materials and methods: DNA microarray and real-time PCR analyses were performed to detect differences between NOD/ShiJcl and C57BL/6JJcl (control) female mice in gene expression from parotid glands or parotid acinar cells. Subsequently, protein expression was assessed using immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry. Similarly, enzyme activity in saliva was assessed using zymography.

Results: Based on gene expression analyses, Chia expression was higher in diabetic mice than non-diabetic mice and control mice; similarly, expression of chitinase, the protein encoded by Chia, was higher in diabetic mice. Saliva from NOD/ShiJcl mice had more chitinase than saliva from control mice.

Conclusions: Chitinase was highly expressed in parotid acinar cells from diabetic mice compared with non-diabetic and control mice. Increased chitinase expression and enzyme activity may characterize the autoimmune diabetes in mice; however, further investigation is required to assess its use as a biomarker of xerostomia in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acinar Cells / enzymology
  • Animals
  • Chitinases / biosynthesis
  • Chitinases / genetics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / enzymology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / genetics
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred NOD
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Parotid Gland / cytology
  • Parotid Gland / enzymology*
  • Saliva / enzymology*
  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides / biosynthesis
  • Xerostomia / enzymology*


  • Salivary Proteins and Peptides
  • Chitinases