The oral mucosa is a highly specialised, stratified epithelium that confers protection from infection and physical, chemical and thermal stimuli. The non-keratinised junctional epithelium surrounds each tooth like a collar and is easily attacked by foreign substances from the oral sulcus. We found that TRPV2, a temperature-gated channel, is highly expressed in junctional epithelial cells, but not in oral sulcular epithelial cells or oral epithelial cells. Dual or triple immunolabelling with immunocompetent cell markers also revealed TRPV2 expression in Langerhans cells and in dendritic cells and macrophages. Electron microscopy disclosed TRPV2 immunoreactivity in the unmyelinated and thinly myelinated axons within the connective tissue underlying the epithelium. TRPV2 labelling was also observed in venule endothelial cells. The electron-dense immunoreaction in junctional epithelial cells, macrophages and neural axons occurred on the plasma membrane, on invaginations of the plasma membrane and in vesicular structures. Because TRPV2 has been shown to respond to temperature, hypotonicity and mechanical stimuli, gingival cells expressing TRPV2 may act as sensor cells, detecting changes in the physical and chemical environment, and may play a role in subsequent defence mechanisms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Medical Laboratory Technology
- Cell Biology