Fibroblast VEGF-receptor 1 expression as molecular target in periodontitis

Mitsuhiro Ohshima, Yoko Yamaguchi, Kimiharu Ambe, Masafumi Horie, Akira Saito, Takahide Nagase, Keisuke Nakashima, Hidero Ohki, Toshihisa Kawai, Yoshimitsu Abiko, Patrick Micke, Kai Kappert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Aim Degradation of extracellular matrices is an integral part in periodontitis. For antagonizing this pathophysiological mechanism, we aimed at identifying gene expression profiles in disease progression contributing periodontitis-associated fibroblasts (PAFs) versus normal gingival fibroblasts to determine their molecular repertoire, and exploit it for therapeutic intervention. Materials and Methods Applying an exploratory analysis using a small number of microarrays in combination with a three dimensional (3D) in vitro culture model that incorporates some aspects of periodontitis, PAFs were initially characterized by gene-expression analyses, followed by targeted gene down-regulation and pharmacological intervention in vitro. Further, immunohistochemistry was applied for phosphorylation analyses in tissue specimens. Results PAFs were characterized by 42 genes being commonly up-regulated >1.5-fold, and by five genes that were concordantly down-regulated (<0.7-fold). Expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-receptor 1 (Flt-1) was highly enhanced, and was thus further explored in in vitro culture models of periodontal fibroblasts without accounting for the microbiome. Phosphorylation of the VEGF-receptor 1 was enhanced in PAFs. Receptor inhibition by a specific VEGF-receptor inhibitor or intrinsic down-regulation by RNAi of the VEGF-receptor kinase in 3D gel cultures resulted in significant reduction in collagen degradation associated with increased tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase expression, suggesting that Flt-1 may contribute to periodontitis. Conclusion Based on the finding that VEGF-receptor kinase inhibition impaired collagen degradation pathways, Flt-1 may represent a candidate for therapeutic approaches in periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-137
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • fibroblasts
  • Flt-1
  • gene expression
  • gingiva
  • periodontal disease
  • vascular endothelial growth factor


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