Fibroblast cultures derived from uninjured and reparative rabbit buccal mucosa were compared in terms of extracellular glycosaminoglycan (GAG) content and cellular response to interleukin-1 (IL-1). Under identical growth conditions, proliferation of both cell lines was the same. Both lines incorporated [3H]-glucosamine into GAG in cellular, pericellular, and medium fractions, with the majority of incorporated label residing in the medium. Dermatan sulfate (DS) was the predominant GAG in the medium fraction of both normal and wound fibroblast cultures; however, the two cell lines differed in the identity of the medium fraction's secondary GAG: chondroitin sulfate (CS) for normal fibroblasts and hyaluronic acid (HA) for wound-derived cells. The GAG content of the pericellular matrix for all cultures was the same regardless of the tissue of origin: heparan sulfate (HS) accompanied by a very small amount of CS. Exposure to IL-1 produced limited but highly specific effects: It was not mitogenic for either cell line but did cause a quantitative change (increase) in overall incorporation into GAG for medium and pericellular fractions for both cell lines. Further, IL-1 induced a qualitative change in GAG composition for normal mucosal fibroblastic medium fractions by causing the synthesis/release of heparan sulfate (HS) and a variant form of DS. These data support the hypothesis that different fibroblastic substrains can populate a given oral site as a function of variables such as injury andlor healing status.
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