Salivary glands engineered in the lab wet the mouths of mice after transplantation, researchers report October 1 in Nature Communications.
Takashi Tsuji of the Tokyo University of Science in Noda, Japan and colleagues extracted clusters of immature cells from mouse embryos and grew nascent salivary glands in a gel-like substance for three days. Then the researchers implanted the incipient organs in mice that had had salivary glands removed. The engineered glands took up residence in the mice and pumped out saliva.
The team hopes that the technique will pave the way toward treatments of salivary gland disorders in people.
In another paper published in the same journal, Tsuji and colleagues also report having grown functioning tear glands in the lab.