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Investigation of biomaterials by human epithelial gingiva cells: an in vitro study

Jörg Neunzehn1, Beate Lüttenberg2* and Hans-Peter Wiesmann1

Author Affiliations

1 Max Bergmann Center of Biomaterials and Institute of Materials Science, Technische Universität Dresden, Budapester Str. 27, Dresden, D-01069, Germany

2 Department for Cranio- and Maxillofacial Surgery, Westfälische-Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, Gebäude: W30, Münster, D-48149, Germany

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Head & Face Medicine 2012, 8:35  doi:10.1186/1746-160X-8-35

Published: 15 December 2012



In modern medicine and dentistry the use of biomaterials is a fast developing field of increasing interest. Especially in dentistry the interaction between biomaterials like implant materials and the soft tissue in the oral cavity is in the focus of daily research. In this context the high importance of testing materials and their surfaces concerning their biocompatibility towards corresponding cells is very likely. For this purpose this study investigates cells derived from human gingival biopsies on different materials and surfaces.


Cells in this study were cultivated out of human biopsies by a grow out explant technique and were sub cultivated on titanium, zirconium dioxide and collagen membrane specimens. To characterise the cells on the material surfaces used in this study immunohistochemical and histological staining techniques as well as different methods of microscopy (light microscopy and SEM) were applied.


With the aid of the explant technique and the chosen cell cultivation method it was possible to investigate the human gingiva derived cells on different materials. The data of the present study show that the human gingival cells attach and proliferate on all three tested materials by exhibiting characteristic gingival keratinocyte protein expression even after long periods of culture e.g. up to 70 days.


It could be shown that the three tested materials titanium, zirconium dioxide and collagen membrane (and their special surfaces) are good candidates for the application as materials in the dental gingival environment or, in the case of the collagen membrane as scaffold/cell-carrier for human gingival cells in tissue engineering.

Human gingiva; Epithel; Biomaterials; Keratinocytes; In vitro study