Rinsing with Saline Promotes Human Gingival Fibroblast Wound Healing In Vitro

PLoS One. 2016 Jul 21;11(7):e0159843. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0159843. eCollection 2016.


Rinsing the mouth with sodium chloride (NaCl) solution is believed to promote healthy gum and improve oral ulcer healing. Scientific evidence to support this assumption is, however, lacking. This study aims to investigate the effect and clarify underlying mechanisms of short-term rinsing with NaCl on human gingival fibroblast (hGFs) wound healing. Isolated primary hGFs and human normal oral keratinocytes (hNOKs) were rinsed with 0-7.2% NaCl for 2 min, 3 times a day. Scratch-tests, trans-well migration assays and MTT activity were performed. mRNA expression was assessed of type-I collagen, fibronectin and FAK. Changes in FAK and F-actin were detected by immunofluorescence. KCl, NaH2PO4, KH2PO4 were used to clarify the molecules involved. Rinsing with 0.9-1.8% NaCl significantly promoted hGFs cell migration but not proliferation. However, it had no effect on hNOKs. Rinsing with 1.8% NaCl significantly up-regulated the expression of type-I collagen and fibronectin. FAK and F-actin, molecules responsible for cytoskeleton re-organization and cell migration, were also up-regulated. Cl- seemed to be essential since rinsing with KCl resulted in a similar effect as noted with NaCl. In conclusion, short-term rinsing with NaCl promoted hGFs migration, and increased the expression of extracellular matrix as well as cytoskeletal proteins. These data strongly support the long held belief in the benefits of using NaCl mouth-rinse.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Adhesion / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Fibronectins / metabolism
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1 / metabolism
  • Gingiva / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Sodium Chloride / pharmacology*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Actins
  • Biomarkers
  • Collagen Type I
  • Fibronectins
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Focal Adhesion Kinase 1

Grants and funding

This research was supported by the Ratchadapisek Sompoch Endowment Fund (2014), Chulalongkorn University (CU-57-076-AS), Integrated-Innovation Academic Center’ Chulalongkorn University Centenary Academic Development Project, The 2012 Research Chair Grant, Thailand National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.