Histological study of postnatal development of mouse tongues
- Yifeng Jiang
- Zhen Du
- Long Chen
Published online on: October 23, 2017
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Numerous factors, including trauma, tumors and myophagism, may lead to tongue defects, which are mostly repaired via muscular flaps. However, these methods cannot restore the muscular function and gustation function of the tongue. Intensive research on tongue development may offer useful clues for tongue regeneration based on tissue engineering or stem cell therapy. In the present study, staining results revealed that tongue muscle fibers became larger, mature and stronger, and the foliate and fungiform papillae also became mature from newborn to adult C57BL/6J genetic background mice. Immunofluorescence staining and polymerase chain reaction results revealed that C‑kit was dynamically expressed in muscle cells, as well as in foliate and fungiform papilla cells from newborn to adult stages. The expression level decreased from P1 to P15 and increased at P90. The immunofluorescence staining results revealed that Ki‑67 was expressed in muscle cells and papilla cells from newborn to adult stages, and high expression was observed at P6 and P15. In addition, the immunofluorescence staining results also demonstrated that msh homeobox 2 (Msx2) was dynamically expressed in postnatal tongue muscle cells; however, almost no expression was detected in papilla cells. There was relative high expression level of Msx2 at P1 and P6 stages, but this gradually decreased from P15, and it was expressed primarily in the muscle cells located in the marginal zone of the tongue at P90. These findings suggest that the amount of c‑kit‑expressing precursor cells in tongue muscle and papilla cells increases to promote tongue development at the early postnatal stage and to maintain homeostasis and functional adaptation of the tongue in the adult stage. Furthermore, Msx2 may serve an important role in postnatal tongue muscle development. The present study also suggests that C‑kit and Msx2 may be used as cell markers for postnatal tongue regeneration and self‑repair, and may provide an approach for developing treatment methods for tongue diseases with a postnatal onset.