2014 Volume 47 Issue 3 Pages 95-102
In the major salivary glands of mice, acinar cells in the parotid gland (PG) are known to be the main site for the production of the digestive enzyme α-amylase, whereas α-amylase production in the submandibular gland (SMG) and sublingual gland (SLG), as well as the cell types responsible for α-amylase production, has been less firmly established. To clarify this issue, we examined the expression and localization of both the mRNA and protein of α-amylase in the major salivary glands of male and female mice by quantitative and histochemical methods. α-amylase mRNA levels were higher in the order of PG, SMG, and SLG. No sexual difference was observed in α-amylase mRNA levels in the PG and SLG, whereas α-amylase mRNA levels in the female SMG were approximately 30% those in the male SMG. Using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry, signals for α-amylase mRNA and protein were found to be strongly positive in acinar cells of the PG, serous demilune cells of the SLG, and granular convoluted tubule (GCT) cells of the male SMG, weakly positive in seromucous acinar cells of the male and female SMG, and negative in mucous acinar cells of the SLG. These results clarified that α-amylase is produced mainly by GCT cells and partly by acinar cells in the SMG, whereas it is produced exclusively by serous demilune cells in the SLG of mice.