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J Periodontal Res. 2010 Feb;45(1):79-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0765.2009.01203.x. Epub 2009 Jul 8.

Shosaikoto increases calprotectin expression in human oral epithelial cells.

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  • 1Department of Periodontology and Endodontology, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Tokushima, Japan.



Oral epithelial cells help to prevent against bacterial infection in the oral cavity by producing antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). A broad-spectrum AMP, calprotectin (a complex of S100A8 and S100A9 proteins), is expressed by oral epithelial cells and is up-regulated by interleukin-1alpha (IL-1alpha). Shosaikoto (SST) is a traditional Japanese herbal medicine that has immunomodulatory effects and is reported to enhance the levels of IL-1alpha in epithelial cells. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of SST on the expression of calprotectin and other AMPs through the regulation of IL-1alpha in oral epithelial cells.


Human oral epithelial cells (TR146) were cultured with SST (at concentrations ranging from 10 to 250 microg/mL) in the presence or absence of anti-IL-1alpha or IL-1 receptor antagonist. The expression of S100A8- and S100A9-specific mRNAs was examined by northern blotting. Calprotectin expression and IL-1alpha secretion were investigated by immunofluorescent staining or ELISA. The expression of other AMPs and IL-1alpha was analyzed by RT-PCR and by quantitative real-time PCR.


Shosaikoto (25 microg/mL) significantly increased the expression of S100A8- and S100A9-specific mRNAs and calprotectin protein. Shosaikoto increased S100A7 expression, but had no effect on the expression of other AMPs. The expression of IL-1alpha-specific mRNA and its protein were slightly increased by SST. A neutralizing antibody against IL-1alpha or IL-1 receptor antagonist inhibited SST up-regulated S100A8/S100A9 mRNA expression.


These results suggest that SST increases the expression of calprotectin and S100A7 in oral epithelial cells. In response to SST, up-regulation of calprotectin may be partially induced via IL-1alpha.

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