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Salivary Gland Diversity Starts Early

A study by scientists with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggests expression patterns in salivary glands emerge early in development.

A study by scientists with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research suggests expression patterns in salivary glands emerge early in development. The findings may provide additional insights in developing treatments for salivary gland disorders and xerostomia.

The researchers found differences in muscle- and nerve-related expression in embryonic mouse submandibular glands and parotid glands. According to the paper, “Single-Cell RNA-seq Identifies Cell Diversity in Embryonic Salivary Glands,” published in the Journal of Dental Research, “These early gene and protein expression patterns echo differences seen later in adult salivary glands.”

More specifically, the authors found “distinct spatial localization patterns of neuronal and muscle cells in embryonic stages that appear to foreshadow later differences in adult organ function.” The team notes these findings “demonstrate the establishment of transcriptional identities that emerge early in development, primarily in the mesenchyme of developing salivary glands.”

It is hoped this discovery will help researchers address challenges with salivary gland dysfunction, as well as improve outcomes in xerostomia therapy.

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