Diabetes causes morphological changes in human submandibular gland: a morphometric study

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Dataon structural alterations in human diabetic salivary glands are scanty and conflicting. The goal of this study is based on the evaluation of the morphological changes in submandibular glands of subjects with well-controlled diabetes and without evident salivary malfunctions.


Submandibular gland pieces from diabetic and non-diabetic patients were fixed, dehydrated, and processed to obtain sections for light and electron microscopy. Randomly selected micrographs were statistically analyzed to reveal variations in serous acini.


Morphometrical evaluation allowed us to reveal significant changes such as enlargement of acinar and granule size, reduction of mitochondrial size, increased density of microbuds and protrusions along luminal membranes.


The results indicate that diabetes affects submandibular gland structure even when glandular function appears unaltered and suggest that morphological changes reflect functional changes chiefly regarding the secretory activity.

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