Mouse parotid salivary gland organoids for the in vitro study of stem cell radiation response

Paola Serrano Martinez, Davide Cinat, Peter van Luijk, Mirjam Baanstra, Gerald de Haan, Sarah Pringle, Robert P Coppes*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
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Objective: Hyposalivation-related xerostomia is an irreversible, untreatable, and frequent condition after radiotherapy for head and neck cancer. Stem cell therapy is an attractive option of treatment, but demands knowledge of stem cell functioning. Therefore, we aimed to develop a murine parotid gland organoid model to explore radiation response of stem cells in vitro. Materials and Methods: Single cells derived from murine parotid gland organoids were passaged in Matrigel with defined medium to assess self-renewal and differentiation potential. Single cells were irradiated and plated in a 3D clonogenic stem cell survival assay to assess submandibular and parotid gland radiation response. Results: Single cells derived from parotid gland organoids were able to extensively self-renew and differentiate into all major tissue cell types, indicating the presence of potential stem cells. FACS selection for known salivary gland stem cell markers CD24/CD29 did not further enrich for stem cells. The parotid gland organoid-derived stem cells displayed radiation dose–response curves similar to the submandibular gland. Conclusions: Murine parotid gland organoids harbor stem cells with long-term expansion and differentiation potential. This model is useful for mechanistic studies of stem cell radiation response and suggests similar radiosensitivity for the parotid and submandibular gland organoids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-63
Number of pages12
JournalOral diseases
Issue number1
Early online date12-Jun-2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan-2021


  • mouse parotid gland
  • organoids
  • parotid gland stem cells
  • radiosensitivity
  • HEAD
  • WNT

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