Researchers in the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) School of Dentistry’s Department of Cell and Tissue Biology are attempting to understand what triggers salivary stem cells in mice to repopulate the saliva-producing structures, acini. Using lineage tracing to observe gland regeneration, the team discovered that after radiation destroys acini in mice, the animals’ stem cells di – vide and differentiate into acinar cells, rebuilding the salivary gland within two weeks. By comparison, human salivary stem cells do not activate after radiation. These findings could spur development of stem cell therapies for gland regeneration in humans who have diminished capacity to produce saliva after radiation therapy for head and neck cancers.
From Decisions in Dentistry. April 2017;3(4):10.