Objectives: Cell-based therapy has been reported to repair or restore damaged salivary gland (SG) tissue after irradiation. This study was aimed at determining whether systemic administration of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hAdMSCs) can ameliorate radiation-induced SG damage.
Methods: hAdMSCs (16106) were administered through a tail vein of C3H mice immediately after local irradiation, and then this infusion was repeated once a week for 3 consecutive weeks. At 12 weeks after irradiation, functional evaluations were conducted by measuring salivary flow rates (SFRs) and salivation lag times, and histopathologic and immunofluorescence histochemistry studies were performed to assay microstructural changes, apoptosis, and proliferation indices. The engraftment and in vivo differentiation of infused hAdMSCs were also investigated, and the transdifferentiation of hAdMSCs into amylase-producing SG epithelial cells (SGCs) was observed in vitro using a co-culture system.