Apoptosis of gingival fibroblasts in periodontitis
Arce, Roger Mauricio
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Introduction: Human gingival fibroblasts (HGF) have an important role in the periodontal immune response. The fibroblasts alter their normal behavior in response to pro-inflammatory cytokines. It is believed that HGF can be diminished and/or eliminated by means of apoptosis. The purpose of this study was to determine and to quantify apoptosis of HGF in periodontium biopsies from healthy and chronic periodontitis patients. Methods: A clinical cross-sectional study in people with healthy periodontium (S), gingivitis (G) and chronic periodontitis (PC) patients was carried out. The periodontal biopsies were obtained and immunostained by means of: hematoxylin-eosin, caspase-3, vimentin and caspase-vimentin double-staining for specific visualization of apoptotic fibroblasts. Histopathological and digital analyses were performed. Descriptive statistics were applied to categorical and nominal variables. Results: Total cell population of HGF had an average of 430±67.6 cells/field in healthy people, and a significantly progressive decrease in gingivitis (270±37.1) and chronic periodontitis groups (206.5±69.8) (p< 0.05). As for total population of inflammatory cells, an increase was noticed in gingivitis (191.8±50.1) and a decrease in periodontitis (109.3±21.7) without statistical significance. The expression of apoptotic HGF per field increased accordingly to the severity of the disease [28±16 in health (6.5%); 31±17 in gingivitis (11.5%) and 51±24 in periodontitis (24.8%), p< 0.001]. Similar findings were observed for inflammatory cells with different percentage expression [17±13 in health (23%); 28±19 in gingivitis (14.6%) and 47±35 in periodontitis (43.1%), p< 0.05]. The relationship between the percentage of expression of apoptotic cells and probing pocket depth was proportional but not significant (p>0.5, r²=0.02); while for the inflammatory cells a significant relationship was observed (p< 0.05, r²=0.2018). Conclusions: The results in this report conclude that HGF and inflammatory cells show apoptosis (caspase-3 expression), and apoptotic cells are significantly increased in gingivitis and chronic periodontitis groups.