Nina Milutin Gasperov

Nina Milutin Gasperov

Ruder Boskovic Institute, Croatia

Title: Methylation profiles distinguish healthy oral mucosa from lesions


Nina Milutin Gasperov has completed her PhD working at the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts and Postdoctoral studies at the Ruder Boskovic Institute, Zagreb, Croatia. She is the Principal Investigator of “Methylation profiles in healthy and ill oral mucosa” project, funded by the European Social Fund. She has published 17 scientific papers in reputed journals and has been Reviewer of one project and in two journals. She has been teaching to postgraduate levels about Dental Medicine, School of Dental Medicine, Croatia.


Altered DNA methylation is one of the possible factors responsible for different human diseases. The model on which we explore changes in DNA methylation in disease are potentially malignant lesions of the oral mucosa, oral lichen planus (OLP) and oral lichenoid lesions (OLL). These two lesions are difficult to distinguish clinically and histopathologically, while the therapy for them is quite different. Therefore, there is a strong need to find new approach that would easily distinguish OLP from OLL. Epigenetic biomarkers, such as methylated genes could point to changes even before they can be clinically detected. Herein, we will examine the methylation status of some tumor suppressor genes (RARB2) and genes involved in cell cycle regulation, transcription, apoptosis, differentiation and chromosomes repair (CCNA1, C13ORF18, hTERT1, hTERT2, TWIST1). Our previous studies have shown that different methylation of these genes could be a good biomarker of mucosal diseases of the cervix. So, we assumed that these genes could also be changed substantially in the oral mucosa, particularly in the OLP and OLL diagnosis. The OLP and OLL diagnoses are based on clinical examination and confirmed by histopathology. The method of methylation specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) is used to determine genes promoter methylation status. The methylation profiles will be correlated with different diagnosis of the oral mucosa as well as the healthy controls. Our preliminary results point out that promoter methylation of specific genes differences between normal and probably malignant lesions of the oral mucosa.