Application of enamel matrix protein derivative (EMD) onto a debrided and conditioned root surface has been shown to promote periodontal regeneration in animals and humans. However, until now there is virtually no information from humans describing the expression of different matrix molecules in the newly formed periodontal tissues following treatment with EMD. This study investigated immunohistochemically in humans the expression of matrix molecules associated with periodontal tissues reformed after treatment with EMD. Eight patients with intrabony defects were treated with EMD. Six months after surgery teeth together with some of their surrounding soft and hard tissues were removed, fixed in buffered formalin, decalcified in EDTA, and embedded in paraffin. Serial sections of 6 micro m were cut in mesiodistal direction. Sections were evaluated immunohistochemically by means of polyclonal antibodies against osteopontin, collagen I and collagen III. The original (non-treated) parts of the periodontium served as controls. In all specimens the healing resulted to a varying extent in formation of cementum, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. In all specimens the expression of the investigated matrix molecules was stronger at the reformed than at the original sites. Osteopontin expression was most intense at the border near the newly formed cementum and bone. In the regenerated periodontal ligament, collagen I and III were localized throughout the entire periodontal ligament connective tissue. Within the newly formed PDL connective tissue the immunohistochemical staining appeared stronger for collagen III than for collagen I. The present findings suggest that (a) treatment of human intrabony defects with EMD creates an environment favourable for periodontal regeneration and, (b) in humans the healing and/or remodelling process of the reformed tissues may be followed immunohistochemically for a period of 6 months.
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