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J Histochem Cytochem. 1995 Dec;43(12):1203-15.

Persistence of a perinatal cellular phenotype in submandibular glands of adult rat.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, Howard University, College of Medicine, Washington, DC 20059, USA.


In the perinatal submandibular gland (SMG) of the rat, Type I cells secrete protein C (89 KD) and Type III cells secrete B1-immunoreactive proteins (20-30 KD); both cell types secrete protein D (175 KD). After the disappearance of both perinatal cell types from the maturing acini, only cells of the intercalated ducts (ID) show strong reactivity for the perinatal antigens. In adult ID, light and electron microscopic immunocytochemical analysis showed that most cells had either C or B1 reactivity, a few had either C and D or B1 and D reactivities, and some cells were unreactive for all of the perinatal proteins. Occasional clusters of "adult" acini, however, were strongly positive for B1 and for D, and these clusters were negative for a typical adult acinar marker, the glutamine/glutamic acid-rich proteins (GRP). Also seen in some preparations were a few anomalous acini with the histological appearance of sublingual (SLG) acini. These were negative for the perinatal and adult submandibular gland marker proteins but reactive with an antibody against SLG mucin. We suggest that the B1-positive acini in the adult SMG consist of newly differentiated replacement cells that have arisen from the ID, and that the anomalous mucous acini are, phenotypically, SLG acini that have differentiated within the SMG parenchyma.

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