Background: Syndecans are cell surface heparan sulfate proteoglycans (PG) which can bind to and modulate the action of growth factors and extracellular matrix components (ECM). Syndecan- 1 has been shown to play important roles during early tooth development and wound healing and repair. Among diverse cells and tissues that comprise the periodontium, the junctional epithelium (JE) constitutes a region of significant anatomic and clinical importance, but the nature of inductive signals and molecules involved in its formation is still unclear. Therefore, this work examines if syndecan-1 is associated with formation of JE, and the distribution of other syndecan family members in the epithelium.
Methods: In situ hybridization and immunohistochemical techniques were performed using oral tissues from 4-day-old to 10-week-old mice to investigate the expression of syndecan- 1, -2, -3 and -4 mRNAs and their corresponding proteins.
Results: Based on in situ hybridization experiments, all syndecan mRNAs were detected in sulcular epithelium (SE), gingival epithelium (GE), and JE with varying intensity and distribution. Syndecan-1 immunostaining was localized on the cell surface while that of syndecan-2 did not show clear membrane localization. Our experiments in the developing tooth demonstrated that syndecan-1 protein followed characteristic patterns of expression during JE formation and that immunoreactivity for syndecan-1 protein decreased with age when JE cells underwent terminal differentiation.
Conclusion: Results of syndecan-1 mRNA and protein expression patterns suggested that this proteoglycan might be an important molecule during the formation of JE.