Regulation of epithelial cell growth factor receptor protein and gene expression using a rat periodontitis model

D. Ekuni, J. D. Firth, E. E. Putnins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objective: Regulation of epithelial cell behavior associated with periodontitis is not well elucidated but many responses will ultimately be regulated by growth factor receptors. Using a rat experimental periodontitis model, protein and gene expression of select growth factor receptors in junctional and pocket epithelium were examined. Material and Methods: Periodontal disease was induced by daily topical application of lipopolysaccharide using an established protocol. Animals were killed at time 0 (control), and at 2 and 8 wk. Frozen tissue samples were collected from the right palatal gingival soft tissue, and the left periodontal tissues were decalcified and embedded in paraffin. Laser microdissection and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) was used to quantify keratinocyte growth factor receptor (KGFR), hepatocyte growth factor receptor (HGFR), epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) gene expression, and in situ RT-PCR localized these increases to specific epithelial cells. Receptor protein expression was examined immunohistochemically. In cell culture, induction of HGFR and KGFR protein expression by serum, lipopolysaccharide and pro-inflammatory cytokines were examined using flow cytometry. Results: Eight-week tissue samples exhibited histological changes consistent with periodontitis. KGFR and HGFR gene and protein expression were significantly induced at the 8 wk time point. KGFR expression was significantly up-regulated in basal and parabasal pocket epithelial cells, but HGFR was up-regulated throughout the pocket epithelium. In cell culture serum, lipopolysaccharide and pro-inflammatory cytokines, interleukin-1β and tumour necrosis factor-α significantly induced KGFR protein receptor expression, but HGFR expression was only induced by serum. Conclusion: KGFR and HGFR are highly up-regulated in this model of periodontal disease and may play a significant role in regulating the proliferation and migration of pocket epithelium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-349
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006


  • Hepatocyte growth factor receptor
  • Keratinocyte growth factor receptor
  • Laser dissection
  • Periodontal disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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