Cell Biology and Toxicology

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 313–322 | Cite as

Effects of HEMA on type I collagen protein in human gingival fibroblasts

  • M. Falconi
  • G. Teti
  • M. Zago
  • S. Pelotti
  • L. Breschi
  • G. Mazzotti


The cytotoxicity of dental composites has been attributed to the release of residual monomers from polymerized adhesive systems due to degradation processes or the incomplete polymerization of materials. 2-Hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) is one of the major components released from dental adhesives. Cytotoxic effects due to high concentrations of HEMA have already been investigated, but the influence of minor toxic concentrations on specific proteins such as type I collagen has not been studied in depth. The objective of this project was to study the effect of minor toxic concentrations of HEMA on human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs), investigating modification in cell morphology, cell viability, and the influence on type I collagen protein. Primary lines of human gingival fibroblasts were exposed to 3 mmol/L HEMA for different periods of time (24 h, 72 h, 96 h). The cell vitality was determined by MTT assay, and high-resolution scanning electron microscopy analysis was performed to evaluate differences in cell morphology before and after treatment. The presence and localization of type I collagen was determined by immunofluorescence in HGFs treated with HEMA for the same period of time. The vitality of the cells decreased after 72 h of exposure. The HGFs grown in monolayer and observed by field emission in-lens scanning electron microscopy demonstrated a preserved surface morphology after 24 h of treatment, while they showed an altered morphology after 96 h of treatment. Immunofluorescence demonstrated a reduction of type I collagen due to HEMA exposure after 96 h. From these results, we conclude that low concentrations of HEMA can significantly alter the morphology of human gingival fibroblasts and interfere with the presence of type I collagen protein.


cell morphology type I collagen cytotoxicity FEISEM gingival fibroblasts HEMA 



2-Hydroxyethyl methacrylate


human gingival fibroblast


field emission in-lens scanning electron microscopy


(concentration responsible for 50% of cell death)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Falconi
    • 1
    • 4
  • G. Teti
    • 1
  • M. Zago
    • 1
  • S. Pelotti
    • 2
  • L. Breschi
    • 3
  • G. Mazzotti
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Anatomiche Umane e Fisiopatologia dell’Apparato LocomotoreUniversità di BolognaItaly
  2. 2.Dipartimento di Igiene e Sanità Pubblica, sezione Medicina LegaleUniversità di BolognaItaly
  3. 3.Division of Dental Sciences and Biomaterials, Department of BiomedicineUniversity of TriesteTriesteItaly
  4. 4.Dip. Scienze Anatomiche Umane e Fisiopatologia dell’Apparato LocomotoreBolognaItaly

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