Enhanced Expression of Hedgehog Pathway Proteins in Oral Epithelial Dysplasia

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The aim of this study was to characterize the profile of the proteins involved in the Hedgehog signaling pathway to aid in the understanding of the pathogenesis of oral epithelial dysplasia (OED). The proteins SHH, PTCH1, HHIP, SUFU, GLI1, and cyclin D1 were evaluated by immunohistochemistry in 25 cases of OED, 4 of non-neoplasic oral mucosa, 8 of inflammatory fibrous hyperplasia and 5 of hyperkeratosis. SHH proteins were predominant in OED cases. Although PTCH1 protein was observed in all cases, this molecule was more highly expressed in OED. The inhibitor protein SUFU was present in OED and HHIP protein was overexpressed in OED. GLI1 proteins were predominantly found in the nuclei of epithelial cells in OED. Basal and suprabasal cells in the epithelial lining were positive for cyclin D1 only in OED. In conclusion, comparative analysis of the proteins involved in the Hedgehog pathway suggests that enhanced expression of these proteins can play an important role in the biological behavior of OED.

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