2019 Volume 52 Issue 4 Pages 59-65
Four major kallikreins (mK1, mK22, mK9, and mK13) were identified in the mouse submandibular gland (SMG). mK1, a true tissue kallikrein, was used as a protein marker to identify different types of SMG granular convoluted tubule (GCT) cells along with epidermal growth factor (EGF), nerve growth factor (NGF), and renin. Kallikrein mK1 was localized in a very small number (~5%) of GCT cells, which were scattered throughout the GCT, indicating that the majority of GCT cells are mK1-negative. Among mK1-positive cells, particularly strong signals were observed in a small number of narrow cells, recognized as slender granular cells (SG cells, Type IV), in the GCT. After postnatal development of the SMG, GCT cells are no longer uniform based on the bioactive substances (mK1, EGF, NGF, and renin) that they produce and secrete. GCT cells were classified into four subtypes, Types I–IV, and it became clear that these subtypes are complicatedly and reversibly converted by the endocrine hormones 5α-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and triiodothyronine (T3). Duct segments with similar morphology or hormone dependency were recognized in the sublingual and parotid glands. The presence of duct cells with such characteristics is therefore a common feature of the three major salivary glands of rodents.