Epithelial‐connective tissue interaction on the tooth surface: An in vitro model

S. Pitaru*, M. Hekmati, Z. Metzger, N. Savion

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the present study, an in vitro system was developed and designed to examine the interaction between gingival fibroblasts (GF) and epithelial cells (EC) on the tooth surface. Porcine roots were cut transversely into 300 μ‐thick root slices (RS). Gingival explants were placed on the upper RS surface and cultured in a defined medium permissive for the growth of EC. After 4 or 6 days, RS yielding EC were transferred onto confluent cultures of GF and further co‐cultured for either 4 or 8 d. Cultures were then fixed and examined by SEM. The upper RS surfaces and the upper half of their peripheral aspect were covered by EC. The lower half of the peripheral RS surfaces were populated by GF originating from the confluent culture of GF. EC and GF made contact at approximately the middle of the side of the root slice. In cultures of epithelial components grown in defined medium for either 4 or 6 d and harvested 4 d after assembling the system, the EC‐GF junction was located 117 ± 45 and 271 ±82 μ, respectively from the upper RS aspect. Extending the co‐culture period did not affect the EC‐GF junction location. These results indicate that GF‐EC contact stops the migration of these cells on root surfaces in vitro. The described system should be valuable for studying cellular events that may affect the formation of a new dentogingival junction following surgical periodontal therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1991


  • epithelial cells
  • gingival fibroblast
  • periodontal wound healing
  • root surface


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