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Revista odontológica mexicana

Print version ISSN 1870-199X


GONZALEZ, Octavio Alberto  and  GONZALEZ, John Mario. Morphological and phenotypic differences in fibroblasts obtained from gingival overgrowth secondary to phenytoin: A pilot study. Rev. Odont. Mex [online]. 2009, vol.13, n.1, pp.17-23. ISSN 1870-199X.


Gingival fibroblasts seem to be key cells in the pathogenesis of gingival overgrowth secondary to phenytoin intake. These cells not only participate in the extracellular matrix protein synthesis, but also regulate protein degradation through production of collagenolitic enzymes and phagocytosis. Some growth factors and cytokines such as IL-1α, TGF-β and TNF-α participate in the homeostasis of extracellular matrix.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the presence of IL-1 α, TGF-β and TNF-α receptors on human gingival fibroblasts from a healthy donor, a patient with gingival overgrowth consuming phenytoin (responder) and a donor consuming phenytoin without gingival overgrowth (non- responder).

Methods and results:

Primary cell cultures of gingival fibroblasts from each donor were characterized by flow cytometry demonstrating vimentin and CD14 positive cells. Using size detector, gingival fibroblasts from the responder donor were larger than fibroblasts from non-responder and healthy donor. A low but positive expression of IL-1R and TGF- βR was detected in cells from the responder donor. TNF- αR expression was detected in all three types of cultured cells but it was higher in the responder donor.


These results suggest differences in the morphologic and phenotypic characteristics between gingival fibroblasts from the donors studied.

Keywords : Gingival fibroblast; cytokine; phenytoin.

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