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Autophagy is a lysosomal protein degradation system in which the cell self-digests its intracellular protein components and organelles. Defects in autophagy contribute to the pathogenesis of age-related chronic diseases, such as myocardial infarction and rheumatoid arthritis, through defects in the extracellular matrix (ECM). However, little is known about autophagy in periodontal diseases characterised by the breakdown of periodontal tissue. Tooth-supportive periodontal ligament (PDL) tissue contains PDL cells that produce various ECM proteins such as collagen to maintain homeostasis in periodontal tissue. In this study, we aimed to clarify the physiological role of autophagy in periodontal tissue. We found that autophagy regulated type I collagen synthesis by elimination of misfolded proteins in human PDL (HPDL) cells. Inhibition of autophagy by E-64d and pepstatin A (PSA) or siATG5 treatment suppressed collagen production in HPDL cells at mRNA and protein levels. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed collagen fragments in autolysosomes. Accumulation of misfolded collagen in HPDL cells was confirmed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. E-64d and PSA treatment suppressed and rapamycin treatment accelerated the hard tissue-forming ability of HPDL cells. Our findings suggest that autophagy is a crucial regulatory process that facilitates type I collagen synthesis and partly regulates osteoblastic differentiation of PDL cells.


Tomomi Nakamura, Motozo Yamashita, Kuniko Ikegami, Mio Suzuki, Manabu Yanagita, Jirouta Kitagaki, Masahiro Kitamura, Shinya Murakami. Autophagy facilitates type I collagen synthesis in periodontal ligament cells. Scientific reports. 2021 Jan 14;11(1):1291

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PMID: 33446772

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