BACKGROUND: Some studies suggest that apoptosis-related factors are involved in the inflammatory processes of marginal periodontal lesions. However, the role of apoptosis in periapical inflammatory lesions remains unclear. We investigated the possible role of apoptotic cell death in periapical inflammatory lesions by means of immunohistochemical analysis of apoptosis-related factors and use of a cell proliferation marker. METHODS: Paraffin-embedded sections of 19 radicular cysts (RCs), and five residual radicular cysts (RRCs) and control specimens of normal gingivae excised from seven cadavers were prepared and examined immunohistochemically with the use of monoclonal antibodies or polyclonal antisera against single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), p53, Bax, Bcl-2, caspase-3, Fas, Fas ligand (Fas-L), and Ki-67 antigen. RESULTS: Epithelium of gingiva, RCs, and RRCs showed expression of ssDNA in suprabasal and superficial epithelial cells and Ki-67 reactivity in basal and parabasal cells. Expression of Ki-67 and ssDNA in RCs and RRCs was slightly higher than that in gingiva. Both Ki-67 and ssDNA reactivity in RCs with intense inflammatory reactions or with thick lining epithelium were significantly stronger than those in RCs with less inflammatory reactions or with thin lining epithelium. Reactivity for p53 was noted sporadically in epithelium of gingiva, RCs, and RRCs, and p53 expression in RCs was significantly greater than that in gingiva. Ki-67 and ssDNA reactivity in RCs increased parallel to the degree of p53 expression. Bax and Bcl-2 were detected in some basal epithelial cells in RCs and RRCs as well as in gingiva. The ssDNA reactivity significantly increased parallel to Bax expression and slightly decreased parallel to Bcl-2 expression in lining epithelium of RCs. Caspase-3 was detected in superficial epithelial cells of both gingiva and lining epithelium of RCs and RRCs, and the distribution of these cells was compatible with the expression of ssDNA. Expression of Ki-67 and ssDNA in caspase-3-positive fields was significantly higher than that in caspase-3-negative fields in RCs. There was very limited expression of Fas and Fas-L in lining epithelium of RCs and RRCs as well as in gingiva. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that apoptosis-related factors are involved in the pathophysiologic activity of periapical inflammatory lesions. Such factors may be affected by the structure of lining epithelium and the degree of inflammatory change.
- Lining epithelium
- Radicular cyst