, Volume 328, Issue 2, pp 339-354
Date: 31 Jan 2007

A simple cell motility assay demonstrates differential motility of human periodontal ligament fibroblasts, gingival fibroblasts, and pre-osteoblasts

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During periodontal regeneration, multiple cell types can invade the wound site, thereby leading to repair. Cell motility requires interactions mediated by integrin receptors for the extracellular matrix (ECM), which might be useful in guiding specific cell populations into the periodontal defect. Our data demonstrate that fibroblasts exhibit differential motility when grown on ECM proteins. Specifically, gingival fibroblasts are twice as motile as periodontal ligament fibroblasts, whereas osteoblasts are essentially non-motile. Collagens promote the greatest motility of gingival fibroblasts in the following order: collagen III>collagen V>collagen I. Differences in motility do not correlate with cell proliferation or integrin expression. Osteoblasts display greater attachment to collagens than does either fibroblast population, but lower motility. Gingival fibroblast motility on collagen I is generally mediated by α2 integrins, whereas motility on collagen III involves α1 integrins. Other integrins (α10 or α11) may also contribute to gingival fibroblast motility. Thus, ECM proteins do indeed differentially promote the cell motility of periodontal cells. Because of their greater motility, gingival fibroblasts have more of a potential to invade periodontal wound sites and to contribute to regeneration. This finding may explain the formation of disorganized connective tissue masses rather than the occurrence of the true regeneration of the periodontium.

This research was supported by the Louisiana Board of Regents through the Millennium Trust Health Excellence Fund, HEF-(2000-05)-04.