Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF- β1) regulates cellular functions including cell growth, differentiation, and migration. However, signal transduction pathways of TGF- β1 are mostly undefined in human periodontal ligament (hPDL) cells. In this study, we investigated TGF β1-induced migration focusing on heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) activation. The cellular response to TGF- β1 by hPDL cells was measured using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and Western blot analysis. Cell migration was determined by counting migrated cells using a Chemotaxis Cell Migration Assay kit. TGF- β1 induced cell migration and increased the phosphorylation of Hsp27 and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in hPDL cells. Inhibiting p38 MAPK with SB203580 blocked TGF- β1-induced Hsp27 activation and cell migration. These findings suggest that TGF- β1-induced Hsp27 may promote the migration of hPDL cells via p38 MAPK mediated signaling. Hsp27 may be a potential target for the periodontal regeneration process related to cell migration.
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