Organ-specific extracellular matrix directs trans-differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells and formation of salivary gland-like organoids in vivo

Olivia N. Tran, Hanzhou Wang, Shengxian Li, Andrey Malakhov, Yuyang Sun, Parveez A. Abdul Azees, Aaron O. Gonzalez, Brian Cao, Milos Marinkovic, Brij B. Singh, David D. Dean, Chih Ko Yeh, Xiao Dong Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Current treatments for salivary gland (SG) hypofunction are palliative and do not address the underlying cause or progression of the disease. SG-derived stem cells have the potential to treat SG hypofunction, but their isolation is challenging, especially when the tissue has been damaged by disease or irradiation for head and neck cancer. In the current study, we test the hypothesis that multipotent bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (BM-MSCs) in a rat model are capable of trans-differentiating to the SG epithelial cell lineage when induced by a native SG-specific extracellular matrix (SG-ECM) and thus may be a viable substitute for repairing damaged SGs. Methods: Rat BM-MSCs were treated with homogenates of decellularized rat SG-ECM for one hour in cell suspension and then cultured in tissue culture plates for 7 days in growth media. By day 7, the cultures contained cell aggregates and a cell monolayer. The cell aggregates were hand-selected under a dissecting microscope, transferred to a new tissue culture dish, and cultured for an additional 7 days in epithelial cell differentiation media. Cell aggregates and cells isolated from the monolayer were evaluated for expression of SG progenitor and epithelial cell specific markers, cell morphology and ultrastructure, and ability to form SG-like organoids in vivo. Results: The results showed that this approach was very effective and guided the trans-differentiation of a subpopulation of CD133-positive BM-MSCs to the SG epithelial cell lineage. These cells expressed amylase, tight junction proteins (Cldn 3 and 10), and markers for SG acinar (Aqp5 and Mist 1) and ductal (Krt 14) cells at both the transcript and protein levels, produced intracellular secretory granules which were morphologically identical to those found in submandibular gland, and formed SG-like organoids when implanted in the renal capsule in vivo. Conclusions: The results of this study suggest the feasibility of using autologous BM-MSCs as an abundant source of stem cells for treating SG hypofunction and restoring the production of saliva in these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number306
JournalStem Cell Research and Therapy
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Cell trans-differentiation
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • Regeneration
  • Salivary gland
  • Stem cell niche

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Cell Biology

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