Identification of calprotectin, a calcium binding leukocyte protein, in human dental calculus matrix.
Calprotectin is a calcium binding protein produced by leukocytes, macrophages and epithelial cells, and its levels in several tissues increase during infections and in many inflamed areas, suggesting that it may be an indicator of inflammatory activity. Osteopontin is a prominent phosphorylated glycoprotein in bone matrix, having calcium binding capacity. Recently, it has been reported that calprotectin and osteopontin are present in urinary stones (pathological mineralized masses in the body), and that these proteins may be involved in their formation. Dental calculus formed by mineralization of dental plaque is an inflammatory factor which may contribute to periodontal disease. It contains many organic components involved in mineralization. We recently found osteopontin molecules in human dental calculus and suggested that the components of its matrix may be similar to those of urinary stones. In this study, we investigated the presence of calprotectin in human dental calculus by immunohistochemical and immunoblotting analyses using a specific antibody for calprotectin. After fixation and demineralization of dental calculi adhered to tooth roots, sections embedded in paraffin were immunoreacted with the antibody for calprotectin and positive immunostaining for calprotectin was observed. Dental calculus proteins were then extracted with EDTA and separated by electrophoresis on 15% polyacrylamide gels. By immunoblotting analysis, 3 or 4 bands were observed at 11, 14.5, 22-25, 28 or 36.5 kDa and these patterns corresponded to those of calprotectin subunits. When non-immune rabbit serum was used instead of calprotectin-specific antibody as a negative control, no immunoreactivity was observed. These findings indicate that calprotectin is associated not only with antibacterial action but also with calcium binding capacity during dental calculus formation.
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