Collagen membranes and bone substitute are popular biomaterials in guided tissue regeneration for treatment of traumatized or diseased periodontal tissue. Development of these biomaterials starts in monolayer cell culture, failing to reflect in vivo tissue organization. Spheroid cultures potentially mimic in vivo tissues in structure and functionality. This study aims to compare GC monolayers and spheroids to ex vivo gingiva. Human GC monolayers, spheroids and gingiva ex vivo tissues were cultured on plastic surfaces, collagen membranes or bone substitute. Hematoxylin-eosin (HE) staining, immunohistochemistry for KI67 and caspase 3 (CASP3), resazurin-based toxicity assays, qPCR for collagen I (COL1A1), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), angiogenin (ANG), interleukin (IL)6 and IL8 as well as ELISA for COL1A1, VEGF, ANG, IL6 and IL8 were performed in all cultures. Morphology was different in all culture set-ups. Staining of KI67 was positive in monolayers and staining of CASP3 was positive in spheroids. All culture set-ups were viable. COL1A1 production was modulated in monolayers and ex vivo tissues at mRNA levels, VEGF in monolayers and ex vivo tissues at mRNA levels and in spheroids at protein levels, ANG in spheroids at mRNA levels and in monolayers and spheroids at protein levels, IL6 in monolayers and spheroids at mRNA levels and in spheroids and ex vivo tissues at protein levels and IL8 in monolayers and ex vivo tissues at mRNA levels. Modulations were surface-dependent. In conclusion, each culture model is structurally and functionally different. Neither GC monolayers nor spheroids mimicked gingiva ex vivo tissue in all measured aspects.
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