Radicular Cyst: An Update of the Biological Factors Related to Lining Epithelium

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Radicular cysts are common lesions in daily dentistry practice. However, the mechanisms related to epithelial lining formation and cavity growth are not fully understood. Therefore, the purpose of this article was to review the biological factors implicated in these process.


Literature was selected through a search of PubMed electronic databases matching the following key words in the title or abstract: “cyst” OR “granuloma” OR “abscess” AND “radicular” OR “apical” OR “periapical” AND “epithelium” OR “epithelial” OR “epithelial lining.” The PubMed database was searched for articles published between 1975 and 2014. Only English language was applied to the search.


The literature search yielded a total of 187 articles. After duplicate references were discarded, a subsequent search at the title and abstract level revealed 42 articles for full-text reading. The articles were categorized into 5 main subtopics:


(1) cell proliferation, cell cycle, and apoptosis;


(2) extracellular matrix constituents;


(3) inflammatory components;


(4) bone metabolic factors and;


(5) others. These subtopics described the characteristics of radicular cysts focusing on the epithelial tissue effects.


Several factors from different sources (epithelial cells, stromal cells, extracellular matrix, and bone matrix) were implicated on apical cyst pathogenesis. Probably a combination of many factors involving an epithelial-stromal interaction is responsible for the sustenance and growth of apical cysts.

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