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Expression of keratinocyte integrins in acute and chronic inflammation of the human periodontium Larjava, Kirsi Haapasalmi


Epithelium plays a crucial role in protection, destruction and repair of human mucosal and epidermal tissues. Integrins compose a family of heterodimeric transmembrane glycoproteins that mediate cell adhesion and information transfer from extracellular milieu into the cytoplasm. In the present work, the expression of integrins in human mucosal and epidermal wound keratinocytes during acute (wound healing) and chronic inflammation (periodontitis) was investigated. Integrins and their ligands were localized in frozen sections using immunohistochemistry. During wound healing, expression of avB6 integrin was induced relatively late during wound healing. Maximal expression was observed in 7-day-old wounds, in which epithelial sheets had joined and granulation tissue was present. Fibronectin and tenascin, both possible ligands for avP36 integrin, were concentrated underneath the basal keratinocytes expressing this integrin. During chronic inflammation, focal loss of integrins and basement membrane components was common in periodontal pocket epithelium. In some local areas, however, upregulation of integrin expression was observed. The results suggest, that during acute inflammation, the reservoir of the keratinocyte integrins increases to correspond to new demands for keratinocyte migration and gene regulation. During chronic inflammation, however, the expression of integrins in keratinocytes is variable, suggesting focal areas of integrin up- and down-regulation that may possibly reflect the areas of healing and destruction in the periodontium.

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