Local administration of anti-hepatocyte growth factor-neutralizing antibody reverts naturally occurring periodontitis

Yoko Yamaguchi, Mitsuhiro Ohshima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory process associated with the loss of tooth-supporting tissue. The imbalance of epithelial-mesenchymal signaling is considered to drive disease progression, and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is one of the main mediators of this interaction. The aim of this study was to validate the role of HGF in the pathogenesis of periodontitis and to evaluate the effects of anti-HGF neutralizing antibodies. Methods: Gingival tissues from cynomolgus monkeys, which naturally develop severe periodontitis, were isolated to establish an in vitro periodontitis model. Periodontitis-affected monkeys were treated by gingival injection of anti-HGF neutralizing antibodies. The therapeutic effects were documented by clinical examination (probing depth and bleeding on probing), histological examination of tissue, and reevaluation of gingival fibroblasts in the in vitro model. Results: Periodontitis-affected monkeys contain periodontitis-associated fibroblasts (PAFs) with a pro-inflammatory phenotype that induced pronounced collagen degradation in vitro. This degradation was effectively inhibited by anti-HGF-neutralizing antibodies. Locally administered anti-HGF antibody to monkey gingiva clinically improved the severity of periodontitis. This was also reflected in the tissue histology with lower inflammatory cell infiltrates in treated gingiva than in non-treated gingiva. Moreover, fibroblasts isolated from anti-HGF-treated gingiva demonstrated reduced collagen degradation capacity. Conclusions: Our study confirmed the central role of HGF in the pathogenesis of severe periodontitis in relevant in vitro and in vivo models. The positive effect of anti-HGF treatment provides a strong rationale for the use of anti-HGF-neutralizing antibodies for the treatment of human periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-252
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Oral Biosciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


  • Anti-HGF-neutralizing antibody
  • In vitro periodontitis model
  • Local administration
  • Naturally occurring periodontitis-affected cynomolgus monkey
  • Periodontitis-associated fibroblasts


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