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Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Feb 14;21(4). pii: E1287. doi: 10.3390/ijms21041287.

Aquaporin 1, 3, and 5 Patterns in Salivary Gland Mucoepidermoid Carcinoma: Expression in Surgical Specimens and an In Vitro Pilot Study.

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International Research Center, A.C.Camargo Cancer Center, Rua Taguá 440, São Paulo 01508-010, Brazil.
National Institute of Science and Technology in Oncogenomics and Therapeutic Innovation, São Paulo 05403-010, SP, Brazil.
Department of General Pathology, Dental School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-000, Brazil.
Department of Restorative Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-000, Brazil.
Department of Head and Neck Surgery and Otorhinolaryngology, A.C.Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo 01525-001, Brazil.
Department of Anatomic Pathology, A.C.Camargo Cancer Center, São Paulo 01525-001, Brazil.
Laboratory of Oral Biology, Department of Biomaterials and Oral Biology, Dental School, University of São Paulo, São Paulo 05508-000, Brazil.


Salivary gland aquaporins (AQPs) are essential for the control of saliva production and maintenance of glandular structure. However, little is known of their role in salivary gland neoplasia. Salivary gland tumors comprise a heterogeneous group of lesions, featuring variable histological characteristics and diverse clinical behaviors. Mucoepidermoid carcinoma (MEC) is the most common salivary gland malignancy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of AQP1, AQP3, and AQP5 in 24 MEC samples by immunohistochemistry. AQP1 expression was observed in vascular endothelium throughout the tumor stroma. AQP3 was expressed in epidermoid and mucosal cells and AQP5 was expressed in mucosal cells of MEC. These proteins were expressed in the human MEC cell line UH-HMC-3A. Cellular ultrastructural aspects were analyzed by electron microscopy to certificate the tumor cell phenotype. In summary, our results show that, despite the fact that these molecules are important for salivary gland physiology, they may not play a distinct role in tumorigenesis in MEC. Additionally, the in vitro model may offer new possibilities to further investigate mechanisms of these molecules in tumor biology and their real significance in prognosis and possible target therapies.


aquaporins; electron microscopy; immunofluorescence; immunohistochemistry; mucoepidermoid carcinoma

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