Author(s): Tonetti MS, Cortellini D, Lang NP
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Abstract Apoptosis is a key phenomenon in the regulation of the life span of terminally differentiated leukocytes. Human gingiva represents an established model to study immune responses to bacterial infection. In this investigation, we used the TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling) technique to evaluate presence and topographic location of apoptosis-associated DNA damage in human gingival biopsies along with the expression of the p53 and Bcl-2 apoptosis-regulating proteins. Qualitative data analysis showed high densities of cells expressing DNA damage and p53 both within the epithelial attachment to the tooth and in the perivascular infiltrate (infiltrated connective tissue [ICT]) immediately underlying the site of chronic bacterial aggression. Topographic consistency between DNA damage- and p53-positive cells was consistently observed. Quantitative analysis of the ICT showed mean densities of DNA damage- and p53-positive cells of 345 +/- 278 and 403 +/- 182 cells/mm2, respectively. Numerical consistency was confirmed by multivariate regression analysis: densities of DNA damage-positive cells were significantly predicted by densities of p53-positive cells (P = 0. 001, r2 = 0.84). In the ICT, cells displaying biotinylated DNA nicks were 3.8\% +/- 2.7\% of total cellularity, while p53- and Bcl-2-positive cells represented 4.4\% +/- 1.7\% and 15.4\% +/- 6.7\% of total cells, respectively. It is suggested that p53 expression associated with DNA damage is a prevalent phenomenon in chronically inflamed human gingiva, and that apoptosis may be a relevant process for the maintenance of local immune homeostasis at sites of chronic bacterial challenge in vivo.
This article was published in Infect Immun
and referenced in JBR Journal of Interdisciplinary Medicine and Dental Science