This study aimed to establish a
mouse model in which dental pulp cells (DPCs) could be used as a cell
source for the treatment of salivary gland hypofunction.
were isolated from green fluorescent protein (GFP)-expressing mice and
were differentiated into dental pulp endothelial cells (DPECs). DPEC
behaviour was studied in vitro and in vivo to investigate their capacity to participate in neovascularisation. For in vivo
assessment, a combination of DPECs and Matrigel was subcutaneously
injected into nude mice. Two weeks after injection, Matrigel plugs were
analysed for CD31 and GFP. Furthermore, both submandibular glands of the
irradiated mice were injected with DPECs. Eight weeks after
irradiation, the effect of DPECs on saliva secretion was evaluated by
measuring amounts of saliva secretion.
showed typical endothelial morphology, including a cobblestone
appearance. RT-PCR analysis of DPECs showed positive expression of CD31,
foetal liver kinase-1, vascular–endothelial–cadherin, vascular
endothelial growth factor-A and von Willebrand factor. DPECs reorganised
into tube-like structures on Matrigel after 24h in vitro.
Positive merged staining for both CD31 and GFP was observed in the
tube-like structures, representative of the injected DPECs. The average
saliva flow rate in mice treated with DPECs was significantly higher
than that observed in mice treated with PBS (P=0.0452).
results show that radiation-induced salivary hypofunction is partially
reverted following transplantation of DPECs. We established a mouse
model in which DPCs could be used as a cell source for the treatment of
salivary gland hypofunction.