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Wound healing at the tooth-gingiva interface Johnston, Sarah Kate


Healing at the junctional epithelium has been studied at the histological level since early animal and human gingivectomy studies were done in the 1970s (Listgarten et al., 1972, Stahl et al., 1972). Relevance of healing in this area relates to regeneration of the periodontal complex, a goal which has, for the most part, eluded clinical periodontology since that time. On a molecular level there has been little research at the tooth-tissue interface and the present study attempts to shed some light on the similarities and differences in this area compared to other areas in the mouth and rest of the body. Examination of several cell adhesion molecules and their respective ligands, as well as the expression of cytokeratins in the area of the junctional epithelium was investigated between 1 and 60 days post wounding. Cytokeratins 16 and 19 were the earliest molecules expressed. Upregulation of these cytokeratins was evident from the earliest time point, at 1 day post wounding. Expression of CK 19 was also observed to a wider extent in the oral epithelium of periodontitis specimens as well as 1 to 7 day post wounding. Expression of integrins β1, β4, and β6 was most intense between 3 and 7 days post wounding and this paralleled the expression of their respective ligands. In addition, expression of these molecules was usually most intense at a distance from the migratory tip suggesting increased activity coronal to the migrating cells. Finally, the expression of p6 was evident at the junctional epithelium of all specimens examined including healthy tissue samples. Taken together this study provides novel information at a molecular level of the cells of the human junctional epithelium during wounding.

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