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John P. M. Wood, Glyn Chidlow, Luke A. Halliday, Robert J. Casson, Dinesh Selva, Michelle Sun; Histochemical Comparison of Human and Rat Lacrimal Glands: Implications for Bio-Engineering Studies. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2022;11(11):10. https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.11.11.10.
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The purpose of this study was to determine whether rodent lacrimal glands (LGs) represent a suitable surrogate for human tissue in bio-engineering research, we undertook a meticulous histological and histochemical comparison of these two tissues.
Histological techniques and immunohistochemistry were used to compare the structure of adult human and rat LG tissues and the expression of key functional tissue elements.
Compared with humans, the rat LG is comprised of much more densely packed acini which are devoid of an obvious central lumen. Myoepithelial, fibroblasts, dendritic cells, T cells, and putative progenitor cells are present in both tissues. However, human LG is replete with epithelium expressing cytokeratins 8 and 18, whereas rat LG epithelium does not express cytokeratin 8. Furthermore, human LG expresses aquaporins (AQPs) 1, 3, and 5, whereas rat LG expresses AQPs 1, 4, and 5. Additionally, mast cells were identified in the rat but not the human LGs and large numbers of plasma cells were detected in the human LGs but only limited numbers were present in the rat LGs.
The cellular composition of the human and rat LGs is similar, although there is a marked difference in the actual histo-architectural arrangement of the tissue. Further variances in the epithelial cytokeratin profile, in tissue expression of AQPs and in mast cell and plasma cell infiltration, may prove significant.
The rat LG can serve as a useful surrogate for the human equivalent, but there exist specific tissue differences meaning that caution must be observed when translating results to patients.
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