Both the major and minor salivary glands are the sources of saliva, a fluid vital for the maintenance of a healthy oral cavity. Here, the expression profiles of human submandibular (SMG) and labial glands (LG) were compared by RT-PCR analysis of laser microdissected mucous and serous cells, respectively. The focus was on trefoil factor family (TFF) genes, but also other genes encoding secretory proteins (mucins, lysozyme, amylase, statherin, and histatins) or aquaporin 5 were included. Immunofluorescence studies concerning TFF1-3, FCGBP, amylase, and lysozyme are also presented. It was shown that LGs clearly contain serous cells and that these cells differ in their expression profiles from serous SMG cells. Furthermore, all three TFF peptides, together with MUC5B, MUC7, MUC19, and FCGBP, were clearly detectable in mucous acini of both LGs and SMGs. In contrast, lysozyme was differentially expressed in LGs and SMGs. It can be expected that labial saliva may play a particularly important role for protecting the teeth.

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