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J Periodontol. 1992 Jun;63(6):526-32.

The effects of chlorhexidine digluconate on human fibroblasts in vitro.

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College of Dentistry, Department of Histology, University of Illinois, Chicago.


The drug chlorhexidine has been widely utilized as a wound antiseptic and oral antimicrobial rinse. There have been numerous reports on its safety as an oral rinse, but its effects on wound healing have been contradictory. The present study utilized human fibroblasts derived from skin and oral tissues to test the effects of chlorhexidine on viability, growth, collagen gel contractions, and total protein synthesis. Cells were exposed for an hour to 0.005% and 0.002% chlorhexidine and for 30 seconds to 0.12% chlorhexidine. Our results indicate that a 0.002% concentration of the drug shows minimal cytotoxicity, but is able to suppress cell division almost completely. Collagen gel contraction, as a model of wound contraction, was also severely affected by all of the concentrations of chlorhexidine used. Total protein synthesis was suppressed by chlorhexidine in collagen gel culture. The data support the hypothesis that chlorhexidine is highly cytotoxic to cells in vitro, but various cell functions such as proliferation, collagen gel contraction, and protein synthesis are affected to different degrees by the drug.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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