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Initial stages of development of the submandibular gland (human embryos at 5.5–8 weeks of development)

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The aim of this study was to determine the main stages of submandibular salivary gland development during the embryonic period in humans. In addition, we studied submandibular salivary gland development in rats on embryonic days 14-16 and expression in the submandibular salivary gland region with the monoclonal antibody HNK-1. Serial sections from 25 human embryos with a greatest length ranging from 10 to 31 mm (Carnegie stages 16-23; weeks 5.5-8 of development) and Wistar rats of embryonic days (E) 14-16 were analysed with light microscopy. Five stages of submandibular salivary gland development were identified. The prospective stage (1), between weeks 5.5 and early week 6, is characterized by a thickening of the epithelium of the medial paralingual groove in the floor of the mouth corresponding to the primordium of the submandibular salivary gland parenchyma. At this stage, the primordium of the parasympathetic ganglion lies below the lingual nerve. The primordium of the submandibular salivary gland parenchyma is observed in rats on E14 in the medial paralingual groove with mesenchymal cells, underlying the lingual nerve. These cells are HNK-1-positive, corresponding to the primordium of the parasympathetic ganglion. The bud stage (2), at the end of week 6 in humans and on E15 in rats, is characterized by the proliferation and invagination of the epithelial condensation, surrounded by an important condensation of the mesenchyme. The pseudoglandular stage (3) at week 6.5 is characterized by the beginning of the formation of lobes in the condensed mesenchyme. The canalicular stage (4), between week 7 and 7.5, is characterized by the appearance of a lumen in the proximal part of the submandibular duct. The innervation stage (5) occurs during week 8, with the innervation of the submandibular and interlobular ducts. Nervous branches arriving from the parasympathetic ganglion innervate the glandular parenchyma. Numerous blood vessels are observed nearby. Our results suggest that submandibular salivary gland development requires interactions among epithelium, mesenchyme, parasympathetic ganglion and blood vessels.
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Quirós-Terrón L, Arráez-Aybar LA, Murillo-González J, De-la-Cuadra-Blanco C, Martínez-Álvarez MC, Sanz-Casado JV, Mérida-Velasco JR. Initial stages of development of the submandibular gland (human embryos at 5.5-8 weeks of development). J Anat. 2019 May;234(5):700-708.
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