The approaches for salivary glands (sgs) regeneration: a review

Masoumeh Sepehri,1,*

1. Department of Molecular and Cellular Sciences, Pharmaceutical Sciences Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran



Saliva is secreted from three pairs of major sgs and 100–800 minor sgs and plays a vital role in oral and general health. salivary glands hypofunction is associated with sjogren’s syndrome, various medications, ectodermal dysplasias and radiotherapy for head and neck cancers. hyposalivation negatively affects speaking, swallowing, and leads to dysphagia, chronic dental caries, recurrent oral infections, and rare mandibular osteoradionecrosis. therefore, there is high interest in developing effective therapies to repair and/or restore damaged sgs.


This study was a review type. more than 70 research and published review papers from 1994 to 2017 were collected through searchable articles that have full-text access to the databases of pubmed and elsevier.


The major sgs consist of several cell types and have a complex structure. as a result, several therapeutic in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo strategies in mice have been designed to restore sgs function: 1. regenerative medicine via re-implantation of autologous sgs cells, 2. cell therapy approaches using stem/progenitor cells transplantation, 3. gene therapy by adeno viruses, 4. tissue engineering through 3d (three-dimensional) biomaterials/nano scaffolds with sgs cells and bioactive cues to mimic in vivo sgs and development of miniature sgs organoids for the fundamental restoration of saliva secretion. additionally, emerging approaches describe the clinical potential of human sgs stem cells to treat radiotherapy-induced hyposalivation.


To date, there is no effective preventive treatment or therapy for hyposalivation. novel approaches including in vivo gene therapy and biomaterial and tissue engineering technologies are fundamental to resolve the current limitations.


Salivary glands, regenerative medicine, stem cell therapy, gene therapy, tissue engineering