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Tissue Eng Part A. 2013 Oct;19(19-20):2215-25. doi: 10.1089/ten.TEA.2012.0674. Epub 2013 May 25.

Growth factors polymerized within fibrin hydrogel promote amylase production in parotid cells.

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Department of Oral Biology, School of Dental Medicine, University at Buffalo-The State University of New York, Buffalo, NY 14214, USA.


Salivary gland cell differentiation has been a recurring challenge for researchers as primary salivary cells show a loss of phenotype in culture. Particularly, parotid cells show a marked decrease in amylase expression, the loss of tight junction organization and proper cell function. Previously, Matrigel has been used successfully as an extracellular matrix; however, it is not practical for in vivo applications as it is tumorigenic. An alternative method could rely on the use of fibrin hydrogel (FH), which has been used extensively in biomedical engineering applications ranging from cardiovascular tissue engineering to wound-healing experiments. Although several groups have examined the effects of a three-dimensional (3D) environment on salivary cell cultures, little is known about the effects of FH on salivary cell cultures. The current study developed a 3D cell culture model to support parotid gland cell differentiation using a combination of FH and growth factor-reduced Matrigel (GFR-MG). Furthermore, FH polymerized with a combination of EGF and IGF-1 induced formation of 3D spheroids capable of amylase expression and an agonist-induced increase in the intracellular Ca(2+) concentration ([Ca(2+)]i) in salivary cells. These studies represent an initial step toward the construction of an artificial salivary gland to restore salivary gland dysfunction. This is necessary to reduce xerostomia in patients with compromised salivary function.

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