Background: The seal between an implant and the oral epithelium is an important factor for successful implant therapy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the initial attachment and subsequent behavior of rat oral epithelial (OE) cells on pure titanium (Ti) used for dental implants. Methods: OE cells derived from 4-day-old rats were cultured on Ti, polystyrene culture dishes, and glass coverslips. The number of attached cells, cell areas, number of colonies, and proliferation rates were measured. Additionally, immunostaining of vinculin and laminin-5 (LN5) was performed, and LN5-immunoreactive areas were measured. Results: After 24 hours of culture, there were fewer cells attached to the Ti than to the polystyrene dishes or glass coverslips, and the area of cells was greater on the polystyrene than on the Ti or glass. OE cells reached their maximum proliferation rate after 48 hours of culture on the polystyrene and glass, and after 72 hours on Ti. LN5 was deposited behind cells as they migrated, and the LN5-immunoreactive area was smaller on Ti than on polystyrene after 96 hours of culture. Conclusions: The initial attachment of OE cells to Ti was inferior to that on polystyrene or glass, and the OE cell migration area indicated by the deposition of LN5 was smaller on Ti than on the other materials. Therefore, this study suggests that further improvement of Ti surface properties is needed for rapid attachment and spreading of oral epithelium to dental implants.
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