Amelogenin and ameloblastin show growth-factor like activity in periodontal ligament cells

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Enamel proteins, particularly amelogenin, have been associated with other functions in addition to regulating enamel biomineralization. Extracts of enamel proteins are currently being used to regenerate periodontal tissues, and new studies suggest that enamel proteins might have chondrogenic and osteogenic properties. In this study, we wanted to determine the effect, if any, of purified recombinant amelogenin and ameloblastin on the adhesion, proliferation, and differentiation of periodontal ligament cells in vitro. Immortomouse-derived periodontal ligament (PDL) cells were grown under permissive and differentiation conditions in the presence of different concentrations of mouse recombinant amelogenin, recombinant ameloblastin, or both. Cells were collected after 4 h to determine attachment, after 24 h to determine proliferation, and after 7, 14, 21 and 28 d to determine differentiation using reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR). Both amelogenin and ameloblastin had a small, but statistically significant, effect on increasing the cell attachment and proliferation of PDL cells. Both amelogenin and ameloblastin modulated bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) expression, down-regulated the expression of collagen type I, and induced the de novo expression of osteocalcin. Amelogenin also induced the expression of bone sialoprotein. These results suggest that amelogenin, as well as ameloblastin, might have some ‘growth factor’ activity during periodontium development and regeneration.

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