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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Multilayer culture of periodontal ligament epithelial cells: a model for junctional epithelium.

The unique features of junctional epithelium involve lack of keratinization, limited differentiation and a relatively permeable structure. In order to study the relationship between differentiation and permeability of stratified epithelium a model system was developed. Porcine periodontal ligament epithelial cells were cultured on the polycarbonate nucleopore membrane of the Transwell two-compartment culture system. Within 5 days of culture the cells formed a confluent multilayered structure. Subsequently, maturation of the structure and differentiation of surface cells took place. Transmission electron microscopy showed that the cells were arranged into basal and suprabasal layers with sparse desmosomal attachments and wide intercellular spaces resembling the organization of junctional epithelium. The basal cells attached to a subepithelial basal lamina through numerous hemidesmosomes. The cytokeratin profile of the cultured epithelium (K5, 6, 14, 16, 19) resembled that of the cells of junctional epithelium attached to the tooth surface. The older cultures expressed differentiation markers, K4, K13 and involucrin, thereby resembling sulcular epithelium. The epithelial permeability, measured by diffusion of phenol red, radioactive dextran or methionine tracers, and as transepithelial electrical resistance, decreased with the increased cell number and maturation of the cultures. The new model provides an organotypic culture system which allows to control differentiation of a multilayered periodontal epithelium. It thus may serve as a valuable new tool for studies on the permeability and behaviour of periodontal epithelium under the influence of exogenous and endogenous factors.[1]


  1. Multilayer culture of periodontal ligament epithelial cells: a model for junctional epithelium. Pan, Y.M., Firth, J.D., Salonen, J.I., Uitto, V.J. J. Periodont. Res. (1995) [Pubmed]
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