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Biomaterials. 2013 Sep;34(28):6773-84. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2013.05.061. Epub 2013 Jun 15.

Salivary gland cell differentiation and organization on micropatterned PLGA nanofiber craters.

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College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University at Albany, State University of New York, 257 Fuller Road, Albany, NY 12203, USA.


There is a need for an artificial salivary gland as a long-term remedy for patients suffering from salivary hypofunction, a leading cause of chronic xerostomia (dry mouth). Current salivary gland tissue engineering approaches are limited in that they either lack sufficient physical cues and surface area needed to facilitate epithelial cell differentiation, or they fail to provide a mechanism for assembling an interconnected branched network of cells. We have developed highly-ordered arrays of curved hemispherical "craters" in polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) using wafer-level integrated circuit (IC) fabrication processes, and lined them with electrospun poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanofibers, designed to mimic the three-dimensional (3-D) in vivo architecture of the basement membrane surrounding spherical acini of salivary gland epithelial cells. These micropatterned scaffolds provide a method for engineering increased surface area and were additionally investigated for their ability to promote cell polarization. Two immortalized salivary gland cell lines (SIMS, ductal and Par-C10, acinar) were cultured on fibrous crater arrays of various radii and compared with those grown on flat PLGA nanofiber substrates, and in 3-D Matrigel. It was found that by increasing crater curvature, the average height of the cell monolayer of SIMS cells and to a lesser extent, Par-C10 cells, increased to a maximum similar to that seen in cells grown in 3-D Matrigel. Increasing curvature resulted in higher expression levels of tight junction protein occludin in both cell lines, but did not induce a change in expression of adherens junction protein E-cadherin. Additionally, increasing curvature promoted polarity of both cell lines, as a greater apical localization of occludin was seen in cells on substrates of higher curvature. Lastly, substrate curvature increased expression of the water channel protein aquaporin-5 (Aqp-5) in Par-C10 cells, suggesting that curved nanofiber substrates are more suitable for promoting differentiation of salivary gland cells.

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