Production and characterization of an in vitro engineered human oral mucosa

Biochem Cell Biol. 2002;80(2):189-95. doi: 10.1139/o01-237.


The role of epithelial cells in oral pathologies is poorly understood. Until now, most studies have used normal or transformed epithelial cell monolayers, a system that largely bypasses oral mucosal complexity. To overcome these limitations, an engineered human oral mucosa (EHOM) model has been produced and characterized. Following histological and immunohistochemical analyses, EHOM showed well-organized and stratified tissues in which epithelial cells expressed proliferating keratins such as Ki-67, K14, and K19 and also differentiating keratin (K10). In this model, epithelial cells interacted with fibroblasts in the lamina propria by secreting basement membrane proteins (laminins) and by expressing integrins (beta1 and alpha2beta1). Cytokine analyses using cultured supernatants showed that cells in EHOM were able to secrete interleukins (IL) including IL-1beta and IL-8 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). Finally, cells in this engineered model were able to secrete different metalloproteinases such as gelatinase-A and gelatinase-B. In conclusion, using tissue engineering technology, we produced well-organized EHOM tissues. It is anticipated that this model will be useful for examining mechanisms involved in oral diseases under controlled conditions by modeling the interactions between mucosa and microorganisms in the oral cavity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / chemistry
  • Biomarkers / chemistry
  • Biopsy
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Integrins / biosynthesis
  • Integrins / genetics
  • Integrins / physiology
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Metalloendopeptidases / metabolism
  • Mouth Mucosa / anatomy & histology
  • Mouth Mucosa / growth & development
  • Mouth Mucosa / metabolism
  • Mouth Mucosa / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Tissue Engineering / methods*


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Integrins
  • Keratins
  • Metalloendopeptidases