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Metabolic Roles of Colony-Forming Tissue Stem Cells in the Maculae Flavae of Newborn Vocal Fold In Vivo

Published:December 30, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvoice.2022.11.002

      Summary

      Objectives

      Tissue stem cells in the maculae flavae (a stem cell niche) of the human vocal fold form colonies in vivo like stem cells in vitro. However, the roles of colony-forming aggregated cells in the maculae flavae in vivo have not yet been determined. This study investigated the glycolysis, of the colony-forming aggregated cells in the maculae flavae of the human newborn vocal fold in vivo.

      Methods

      Three normal newborn vocal folds were investigated under light microscopy with immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy.

      Results

      Colony-forming aggregated cells in the newborn maculae flavae strongly expressed glucose transporter-1 and glycolytic enzymes (hexokinase II, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase and lactate dehydrogenase A). The colony-forming aggregated cells did not express phosphofructokinase-1 (rate-limiting enzyme of regular glucose metabolism pathway) but expressed glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (rate-limiting enzyme) indicating the cells relied more on the pentose phosphate pathway. The colony-forming aggregated cells’ strong expression of lactate dehydrogenase A indicated that they rely more on anaerobic glycolysis in an anaerobic microenvironment. Mitochondrial cristae of the colony-forming aggregated cells in the newborn maculae flavae were sparse. Consequently, the microstructural features of the mitochondria suggested that their metabolic activity and oxidative phosphorylation were low.

      Conclusions

      The colony-forming aggregated cells in the maculae flavae of the newborn vocal fold seemed to rely more on anaerobic glycolysis using the pentose phosphate pathway for energy supply in vivo. Microstructural features of the mitochondria and the glycolytic enzyme expression of the colony-forming aggregated cells suggested that the oxidative phosphorylation activity was low. Already at birth, in the anaerobic microenvironment of the macular flavae in vivo, there is likely a complex cross-talk regarding metabolism between the colony-forming aggregated cells along the adhesion machinery and chemical signaling pathways which reduces toxic oxygen species and is favorable to maintaining the stemness and undifferentiated states of the tissue stem cells.

      Key words

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