Molecular cues for development and regeneration of salivary glands.
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The hypofunction of salivary glands caused by Sjgren's Syndrome or radiotherapy for head and neck cancer significantly compromises the quality of life of millions patients. Currently no curative treatment is available for the irreversible hyposalivation, whereas regenerative strategies targeting salivary stem/progenitor cells are promising. However, the success of these strategies is constrained by the lack of insights on the molecular cues of salivary gland regeneration. Recent advances in the molecular controls of salivary gland morphogenesis provided valuable clues for identifying potential regenerative cues. A complicated network of signaling molecules between epithelia, mesenchyme, endothelia, extracellular matrix and innervating nerves orchestrate the salivary gland organogenesis. Here we discuss the roles of several cross-talking intercellular signaling pathways, i.e., FGF, Wnt, Hedgehog, Eda, Notch, Chrm1/HB-EGF and Laminin/Integrin pathways, in the development of salivary glands and their potentials to promote salivary regeneration.
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