OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to compare the proliferation, morphology, and antigenic expression of human fibroblast–like cells between primary cultures treated with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or fetal bovine serum (FBS) as the growth factor source.
DESIGN: Cells from human gingival tissue samples obtained from healthy volunteers during oral surgery were studied. Isolated cells were cultured in media supplemented with 10% PRP or FBS. Platelet-rich plasma was prepared from the venous blood of each patient. The authors studied short- and long-term cell cultures in the presence of PRP or FBS as the sole growth factor source in order to determine (a) cell growth rate, by MTT (3-[4,5-Dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide) assay; (b) cell morphology, by electronic microscopy; and (c) antigenic expression, by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy.
RESULTS: In short-term cultures, the cell growth rate was higher with PRP versus FBS treatment. No differences in morphology or expression of vimentin, fibronectin, or α-actin antigens were observed between PRP and FBS cultures. In long-term cultures, PRP and FBS did not significantly differ in cell growth rate but differed in morphology and in the expression of vimentin, fibronectin, and α-actin.
CONCLUSION: The PRP enhances cell proliferation over the short term and induces cell differentiation of fibroblast-like cells to myofibroblast-like cells over the long term, suggesting that fibroblast differentiation to myofibroblasts may underlie the action mechanism of PRP in soft tissue regeneration.