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Engineering salivary glands is of interest due to the damaging effects of radiation therapy and the autoimmune disease Sjögren’s syndrome on salivary gland function. One of the current problems in tissue engineering is that in vitro studies often fail to predict in vivo regeneration due to failure of cells to interact with scaffolds and of the single cell types that are typically used for these studies. Although poly (lactic co glycolic acid) (PLGA) nanofiber scaffolds have been used for in vitro growth of epithelial cells, PLGA has low compliance and cells do not penetrate the scaffolds. Using a core-shell electrospinning technique, we incorporated poly (glycerol sebacate) (PGS) into PLGA scaffolds to increase the compliance and decrease hydrophobicity. PGS/PLGA scaffolds promoted epithelial cell penetration into the scaffold and apical localization of tight junction proteins, which is necessary for epithelial cell function. Additionally, co-culture of the salivary epithelial cells with NIH3T3 mesenchymal cells on PGS/PLGA scaffolds facilitated epithelial tissue reorganization and apical localization of tight junction proteins significantly more than in the absence of the mesenchyme. These data demonstrate the applicability of PGS/PLGA nanofibers for epithelial cell self-organization and facilitation of co-culture cell interactions that promote tissue self-organization in vitro.


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Sfakis L, Kamaldinov T, Khmaladze A, Hosseini ZF, Nelson DA, Larsen M, Castracane J. Mesenchymal Cells Affect Salivary Epithelial Cell Morphology on PGS/PLGA Core/Shell Nanofibers. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2018; 19(4):1031.

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