Gingival connective tissue often has a composition resembling that of scar surrounding dental implant abutments. Increased cell adhesion, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression and increased extracellular matrix deposition are a hallmark of fibrotic cells, but how topographic features influence gingival fibroblast adhesion and adoption of the α-SMA positive myofibroblast phenotype associated with scarring is unknown. The purpose of the present study was to demonstrate whether implant topographies that limit adhesion formation would reduce myofibroblast differentiation and extracellular matrix deposition. Human gingival fibroblasts were cultured on PT (smooth) and SLA (roughened) titanium discs for varying time-points. At 1 and 2 weeks after seeding, incorporation of α-SMA into stress-fibre bundles and fibronectin deposition was significantly higher on PT than SLA surfaces indicating differentiation of the cells towards a myofibroblast phenotype. Analysis of adhesion formation demonstrated that cells formed larger adhesions and more stable adhesions on PT, with more nascent adhesions observed on SLA. Gene expression analysis identified up-regulation of 15 genes at 24 hrs on SLA versus PT associated with matrix remodelling. Pharmacological inhibition of Src/FAK signalling in gingival fibroblasts on PT reduced fibronectin deposition and CCN2 expression. We conclude that topographical features that reduce focal adhesion stability could be applied to inhibit myofibroblast differentiation in gingival fibroblasts.
Keywords: adhesion formation; dental implant; gingival fibroblasts; integrins; substratum topography; titanium.
© 2015 The Authors. Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine.