Int J Oral Biol.  2012 Sep;37(3):115-120.

Retinoic Acid Increases the Cell Cycle Progression of Human Gingival Fibroblasts by Increasing Cyclin E and CDK 2 Expression and Decreasing p21WAF1/CIP1 and p16INK4A Expression

  • 1Department of Periodontology, School of Dentistry, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.
  • 2Department of Oral Biochemistry, School of Dentistry, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.
  • 3Department of Oral Microbiology, School of Dentistry, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.
  • 4College of Education, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.
  • 5Wonkwang Research Institute for Food Industry, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Korea.


Retinoic acid plays an important role in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation. In our present study, we evaluated the effects of all-trans retinoic acid (RA) on cell proliferation and on the cell cycle regulation of human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs). Cell proliferation was assessed using the MTT assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed by flow cytometry, and cell cycle regulatory proteins were determined by western blot. Cell proliferation was increased in the presence of a 0.1 nM to 1 microM RA dose range, and maximal growth stimulation was observed in cells exposed to 1 nM of RA. Exposure of HGFs to 1 nM of RA resulted in an augmented cell cycle progression. To elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying cell cycle regulation by RA, we measured the intracellular levels of major cell cycle regulatory proteins. The levels of cyclin E and cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 2 were found to be increased in HGFs following 1 nM of RA treatment. However, the levels of cyclin D, CDK 4, and CDK 6 were unchanged under these conditions. Also after exposure to 1 nM of RA, the protein levels of p21WAF1/CIP1 and p16INK4A were decreased in HGFs compared with the control group, but the levels of p53 and pRb were similar between treated and untreated cells. These results suggest that RA increases cell proliferation and cell cycle progression in HGFs via increased cellular levels of cyclin E and CDK 2, and decreased cellular levels of p21WAF1/CIP1 and p16INK4A.


Retinoic acid; Cell cycle; Human gingival fibroblasts
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