Expression of bone associated macromolecules by gingival and periodontal ligament fibroblasts

S Ivanovski, H Li, H R Haase, P M Bartold
Journal of Periodontal Research 2001, 36 (3): 131-41
The expression of hard tissue associated proteins may be used to identify periodontal fibroblasts with the capability to facilitate periodontal regeneration. The aim of this study was to describe, by immunohistochemistry, the distribution of osteocalcin, osteopontin, bone sialoprotein and bone morphogenic proteins-2 and -4 (BMP-2 and BMP-4) within the human periodontium. Furthermore, the expression of mRNA for the above proteins and alkaline phosphatase by gingival and periodontal ligament fibroblasts in vitro was also assessed by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Localization of osteopontin, osteocalcin, BMP-2 and BM P-4 within sections of human periodontal structures was stronger in the periodontal ligament compared to the gingiva. Bone sialoprotein was not detected in either of the soft tissues but, along with osteopontin and osteocalcin, it was localized in the cementum and bone. In vitro, both the gingival and periodontal ligament fibroblasts expressed mRNA for alkaline phosphatase, BMP-2, BMP-4 and osteopontin. Although there were no differences in the expression of alkaline phosphatase and BMP-4 mRNA between the two cell types, we noted significantly higher mRNA levels of osteopontin in the periodontal ligament and BM P-2 in the gingival fibroblasts. Osteocalcin and bone sialoprotein mRNA expression was only noted in the cultured periodontal ligament fibroblasts. From these results, it can be concluded that distinct differences exist between the two fibroblast populations in terms of the localization and mRNA expression of the majority of the hard tissue associated proteins. Furthermore, the elevated in vitro mRNA expression for osteocalcin, osteopontin and bone sialoprotein may be used to identify cells with the potential to facilitate hard tissue formation and hence periodontal regeneration.

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