Background: Oral epithelial cells (OECs) adhesion to titanium may improve the success rate of implant restoration. Purpose: We investigated the mechanism by which OECs adhere to titanium dental implants. Materials and methods: (1) After culturing rat OECs on titanium plates (Ti) or culture dishes in the presence or absence of a phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) activator or inhibitors and/or growth factors, and OEC morphology under these conditions were analyzed. (2) Right maxillary first molars were extracted and replaced with experimental implants. The rats were treated with or without growth factors. Results: (1) Cell adherence was lower of OECs on Ti than in those on culture dishes, as were the levels of integrin β4 and the continuity of F-actin structures. After PI3K inhibition, markedly reducing adherence to both substrates. In contrast, PI3K activation with activator or insulin-like growth factor restored the OEC adherence and the expression of adhesion molecules on Ti to the levels seen in OECs cultured on dishes. Cell migration was inhibited by PI3K activation. (2) High expression of integrin β4 was observed in the peri-implant epithelia of PI3K-activated rats. Conclusion: These findings suggest that PI3K plays an important role in the adhesion of OECs to Ti.
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