Atrial natriuretic peptide presence in parotid gland of human fetus at 13th week of development and in adult man.
The rat parotid gland produces a number of well-characterized secretory proteins. Relatively little is known, however, about the onset of their synthesis and cellular localization during gland development. Secretory protein expression was studied in parotid glands of fetal and postnatal rats using light and electron microscopic immunocytochemistry and Northern blotting. Amylase, parotid secretory protein (PSP), common salivary protein-1 (CSP-1), and SMGB were first detected by immunofluorescence in parotid glands of 18 day fetuses. By 5 days after birth, light and electron microscopic immunolabeling localized all of these proteins to the secretory granules of developing acinar cells. Labeling of acinar cells for DNAse I, however, was not observed until 18 days after birth. Between 9 and 25 days, CSP-1 and SMGB reactivity of acinar cells declined, but increased in intercalated duct cells. After 25 days, CSP-1 and SMGB were found only in intercalated ducts, and amylase, PSP, and DNAse I were restricted to acinar cells. Levels of CSP-1 and SMGB mRNA were relatively constant through 21 postnatal days, but declined significantly after that. Amylase and PSP mRNA increased rapidly and continuously from five days after birth to the adult stage. In contrast, DNAse I mRNA was not detectable until 18 days after birth. The immunocytochemical and molecular analyses define three basic patterns of protein expression in the rat parotid gland: proteins whose synthesis is initiated early in development and is maintained in the acinar cells, such as amylase and PSP; proteins that are initially synthesized by immature acinar cells but are restricted to intercalated ducts in the adult gland, such as CSP-1 and SMGB; and proteins that are synthesized only by mature acinar cells and first appear during the third postnatal week, such as DNAse I. The parotid gland exhibits four distinct developmental stages: prenatal, from initiation of the gland rudiment until birth; neonatal, from 1 day up to about 9 days postnatal; transitional, from 9 days to 25 days of age; and adult, from 25 days on. Although differences exist in timing and in the specific proteins expressed, these developmental stages are similar to those seen in the rat submandibular gland. Additionally, the results support the suggestion that intercalated ducts may differentiate from the neonatal acini.