Perlecan-enriched intercellular space of junctional epithelium provides primary infrastructure for leukocyte migration through squamous epithelial cells
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The aim of this study was to demonstrate the presence of intraepithelial stroma represented by extracellular matrix (ECM) deposits in the junctional epithelium to clarify its function as a scaffold for leukocyte migration through epithelial cells. Twenty-three biopsy specimens from the gingiva including the junctional epithelium were examined to determine comparative protein and gene level expression profiles for keratin and ECM molecules between the junctional epithelium and the gingival epithelium using immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. Intraepithelial leukocyte types and frequencies were also determined and compared between the junctional and gingival epithelia. In the junctional epithelium, which was positive for keratin 19, perlecan was strongly deposited in intercellular space of the whole epithelial layer, while it was faintly positive around the parabasal layer of the gingival epithelium. Perlecan mRNA signals were enhanced to a greater degree in both epithelial and inflammatory cells within the junctional epithelium. In the junctional epithelium, greater numbers of neutrophils and macrophages were found as compared with the gingival epithelium. Our results showed that perlecan is the primary ECM molecule comprising intraepithelial stroma of the junctional epithelium, in which leukocytes may migrate on ECM scaffolds in intercellular space toward the surface of the gingival sulci or pockets.
KeywordsJunctional epithelium Gingival epithelium Intercellular space Intraepithelial stroma Perlecan Leukocyte migration
This work was supported in part by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
Conflict of interest
The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.
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