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Natural killer cells and alterations in collagen density: signs of periradicular herpesvirus infection?

C. J. Saboia-Dantas, L. F. Coutrin de Toledo, J. F. Siqueira Jr., H. R. Sampaio-Filho, J. J. Carvalho, M. J. S. Pereira
01/06/2009

This study evaluated the presence and density of natural killer (NK) cells as well as collagen density in chronic apical periodontitis lesions and tried to find any correlations with concomitant herpesvirus infection or histopathological status of the lesion. Surgical specimens of chronic apical periodontitis lesions were surveyed for the presence and density of NK cells by immunohistochemical analysis. Collagen density in these lesions was quantified by means of histochemistry. All specimens were positive for the presence of CD57-positive cells. Topographically, CD57-positive cells were found singly or forming clusters in the granulomatous tissue, as well as subjacent and within the cystic epithelium. No significant differences in the density of CD57-positive cells were found between nonepithelialized and epithelialized lesions or between herpesvirus- positive and herpesvirus-negative lesions. Significant differences were found in volumetric density of collagen when comparing nonepithelialized and epithelialized lesions, with the latter demonstrating higher values. When no distinction of lesion type was made, there was no significant difference in collagen density between herpesvirus- positive and herpesvirus-negative lesions. When comparing the collagen density in herpesvirus-positive and herpesvirus-negative specimens from the same lesion type, a significant difference was found in nonepithelialized lesions, with herpesvirus-positive lesions showing lower values. The presence of CD57-positive cells in all chronic apical periodontitis specimens may indicate that activated NK cells play a role in the pathogenesis of this disease, possibly by participating in innate immunity events involved in the control of virus infection. Collagen density may vary in function of the type of lesion and presence of herpesvirus infection.

Referência bibliográfica: Clin Oral Invest (2008) 12:129–135