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Keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) and hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (SF) are two signalling molecules thought to play important roles in regulating epithelial–mesenchymal interactions. Expression of both factors by fibroblasts in subepithelial connective tissue may play a role in maintaining epithelial integrity in health and in the apical migration of junctional epithelium in periodontitis. The aims of this study were (a) to compare expression levels of KGF and SF by periodontal ligament (PDL) and gingival fibroblasts; and (ii) to determine the effects of interleukin (IL)-1β, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF)-BB and epidermal growth factor (EGF) on KGF/SF expression by these cell populations. Three paired PDL and gingival fibroblast strains were developed. The KGF and SF protein levels were analysed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Relative levels of KGF and SF mRNA in cytokine-treated cultures were determined using semiquantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. No differences in the levels of KGF and SF produced by PDL and gingival (SOG) populations were found. In both cell types IL-1β stimulated KGF and SF expression, while TGF-β1 significantly inhibited expression at both the mRNA and protein levels. Epidermal growth factor and PDGF-BB induced differing effects on expression, stimulating SF protein production but inhibiting KGF output in both fibroblast populations. Differences in response to EGF and PDGF were also seen between paired PDL and gingival fibroblasts.