Irradiated head and neck cancer patients suffer from irreversible loss of salivary gland (SG) function, along with significant morbidity and compromised quality of life. To date there is no biologically-based treatment for this distress. Adult salivary gland stem cells are promising candidates for autologous transplantation therapy in the context of tissue-engineered artificial SGs or direct cell therapy. The major restrictions in handling such cells are their limited lifespan during in vitro cultivation, resulting in a narrow time-window for implantation and a risk of tumorigenic changes during culture. To overcome these difficulties, we tested in a rat model the possibility of establishing a personal/autologous SG stem cell bank. SG's integrin-α6β1-expressing cells were shown to hold a subpopulation of SG-specific progenitor-cells. Explanted and cultured single cell-originated clones were cryopreserved for up to 3 years and shown to exhibit genetic and functional stability similar to noncryopreserved cells, as was emphasized by soft agar assay, division potential assessment, flow cytometric analysis, real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction, in vitro three-dimensional differentiation assay, and immunofluorescence confocal microscopy. Future integration of the novel strategies presented herein to a clinical therapeutic model will allow safe preservation until transplantation and repeated transplantation if needed. These tools open a new venue for adult autologous stem-cell transplantation-based SG regeneration.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Biomedical Engineering