Periodontal disease can have dire effects, leading to tooth loss. Fujioka-Kobayashi and colleagues found that hyaluronic acid can be used to improve periodontal healing in vitro, which may have implications for treating patients.
The periodontal ligaments are tiny ligaments that attach the roots of our teeth to the bones of our jaw. These ligaments can weaken as a result of dental and periodontal infections and injuries, resulting in tooth loss. Replacing lost teeth is both difficult and expensive, and tooth loss often leads to difficulties eating and speaking. If teeth are not replaced, the bone in the jaws also shrinks. To avoid these serious consequences, it is vital we find ways to maintain the periodontal ligaments and help them heal after damage.
Fujioka-Kobayashi and colleagues published a paper in BMC Oral Health investigating the effects of hyaluronic acid on periodontal ligament regeneration. Hyaluronic acid is an important chemical that plays a role in the formation of organs and in development generally. It is frequently used to speed up healing and wound repair, and has become increasingly important in the treatment of oral injuries as it reduces inflammation and bleeding.
Fujioka-Kobayashi and colleagues used periodontal ligament cells to perform in vitro (in a dish) experiments, in which the cells received one of several treatments. These treatments were: diluting samples with a 1:10 hyaluronic acid concentration, diluting the samples with a 1:100 hyaluronic acid concentration, or coating the petri dish itself with hyaluronic acid. Two types of hyaluronic acid were used in each case. The researchers then assessed the cells for viability and inflammation at 1 day, for proliferation at 1, 3, and 5 days, and for cell differentiation at 7 and 14 days. These results were compared to a control condition.
The researchers found that both forms of hyaluronic acid kept cells alive at rates of 90% and resulted in similar levels of inflammation. Further, all the hyaluronic acid treatments, including the coated petri dish, promoted cell proliferation. Hyaluronic acid also increased cell differentiation and the formation of bone-creating cells under specific cell culture conditions.
These results suggest that hyaluronic acid could be an important tool for improving periodontal healing. One potential confounding factor in this study is that the researchers used only healthy periodontal cells, and hyaluronic acid could have different effects on diseased cells. Future work both in vitro and in animal models will clarify how and under what conditions hyaluronic acid can speed the healing process.
Written By: C.I. Villamil