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Comparative Study
. 2013 Dec 23;8(12):e84201.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084201. eCollection 2013.

Comparative Gene-Expression Analysis of the Dental Follicle and Periodontal Ligament in Humans

Free PMC article
Comparative Study

Comparative Gene-Expression Analysis of the Dental Follicle and Periodontal Ligament in Humans

Hyo-Seol Lee et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


The human dental follicle partially differentiates into the periodontal ligament (PDL), but their biological functions are different. The gene-expression profiles of the dental follicle and PDL were compared using the cDNA microarray technique. Microarray analysis identified 490 genes with a twofold or greater difference in expression, 365 and 125 of which were more abundant in the dental follicle and PDL, respectively. The most strongly expressed genes in the dental follicle were those related to bone development and remodeling (EGFL6, MMP8, FRZB, and NELL1), apoptosis and chemotaxis (Nox4, CXCL13, and CCL2), and tooth and embryo development (WNT2, PAX3, FGF7, AMBN, AMTN, and SLC4A4), while in the PDL it was the tumor-suppressor gene WIF1. Genes related to bone development and remodeling (STMN2, IBSP, BMP8A, BGLAP, ACP5, OPN, BMP3, and TM7SF4) and wound healing (IL1, IL8, MMP3, and MMP9) were also more strongly expressed in the PDL than in the dental follicle. In selected genes, a comparison among cDNA microarray, real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction, and immunohistochemical staining confirmed similar relative gene expressions. The gene-expression profiles presented here identify candidate genes that may enable differentiation between the dental follicle and PDL.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Gene-ontology analysis of the periodontal ligament(PDL) and the dental follicle.
a. Main categories of genes expressed specifically in the dental follicle and periodontal ligament (PDL) tissues on the basis of their biological processes. b. Main categories of genes expressed specifically in dental follicle and PDL tissues on the basis of their molecular function (x-axis: number of involved genes, F-statistic p<0.05).
Figure 2
Figure 2. Immunohistochemical (IHC) staining of dental follicle and permanent PDL tissues.
(A, F) IHC staining for AMTN in the dental follicle and (K, P) permanent PDL tissues. (B, G) IHC staining for CXCL13 in the dental follicle and (L, Q) permanent PDL tissue. (C, H) IHC staining for DMP1 in the dental follicle and (M, R) permanent PDL tissue. (D, I) IHC staining for WIF1 in the dental follicle and (N, S) permanent PDL tissue. (E, J) IHC staining for MMP9 in the dental follicle and (O, T) permanent PDL tissue. (Scale bars: 20 μm in A–E and P–T; 100 μm in F–O.)

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This research was supported by the Basic Science Research Program of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2011-0022160 and 2012R1A1A2041910). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.