Objectives Amelogenin, the major component of the enamel matrix derivative (EMD), has been suggested as a bioactive candidate for periodontal regeneration. Apart from producing a regenerative effect on periodontal tissues, amelogenin has also been reported to have an anti-inflammatory effect. However, the precise molecular mechanisms underlying these effects remain unclear. In the present study, we examined the immunomodulatory effects of amelogenin on macrophages. Design Human phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA)-differentiated U937 macrophages and CD14+ peripheral blood-derived monocytes (PBMC)-derived macrophages were stimulated with recombinant amelogenin (rM180). After performing a detailed microarray analysis, the effects of rM180 on macrophage phenotype and signal transduction pathways were evaluated by real-time polymerase chain reaction, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. Results The microarray analysis demonstrated that rM180 increased the expression of anti-inflammatory genes in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged macrophages after 24 h, while it temporarily up-regulated inflammatory responses at 4 h. rM180 significantly enhanced the expression of M2 macrophage markers (CD163 and CD206). rM180-induced M2 macrophage polarisation was associated with morphological changes as well as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production. rM180 enhanced prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) expression, and the activation of the cAMP/cAMP-responsive element binding (CREB) signaling pathway was involved in amelogenin-induced M2 macrophage polarisation. Blocking of PGE2 signaling by indomethacin specifically abrogated rM180 with or without LPS-induced M2 shift in PBMC-derived macrophages. Conclusion Amelogenin could reprogram macrophages into the anti-inflammatory M2 phenotype. It could therefore contribute to the early resolution of inflammation in periodontal lesions and provide a suitable environment for remodeling-periodontal tissues.
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