Microcalcifications in stone-obstructed human submandibular gland are associated with apoptosis and cell proliferation

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Archives of Oral Biology






Apoptosis; Calcification; Cell proliferation; Fibrosis; Salivary gland stone


© 2017 Objective Human submandibular gland (SMG) stones are associated with inflammation, fibrosis and microcalcifications in the surrounding tissues. However, there is little information about the accompanying cell injury-repair process, apoptosis, and cell proliferation. The purpose of this study was to investigate such an association and its clinical significance. Design of study Mid-gland paraffin sections of human SMGs (“stone glands”) and normal SMGs (“non-stone glands”) were subjected to stains for general histology (hematoxylin and eosin), fibrosis (Masson's trichrome), and calcification (alizarin red) and to immunohistochemistry for proliferative activity (Ki-67), and apoptosis (Caspase-3). Tissues were assessed for areas of inflammation, calcium deposition, and fibrosis, and for cycling and apoptotic cells. Results Acini were atrophic and proportionately fewer in lobules with fibrosis in stone glands. Additionally, stone glands had intraluminal calcifications (microliths) in scattered excretory and striated ducts and blood vessel walls. Areas of inflammation and fibrosis were small and uncommon, and calcifications were not seen in non-stone glands. Proliferating and apoptotic cells were common in the main duct of stone glands where ciliated and mucous cell hyperplasia and stratified squamous metaplasia had occurred, uncommon in the main duct of non-stone glands, and uncommon in all other parenchymal elements of both stone and non-stone glands. Conclusion Stone obstruction in the main excretory ducts of SMG resulted in progressive depletion of acini from proximal to distal lobules via calcification, inflammation, fibrosis, and parenchymal cell atrophy, apoptosis and proliferation. Interlobular duct microliths contributed to this depletion by further provoking intralobular inflammation, fibrosis, and acinar atrophy.

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