Cell proliferation has been found to correlate with increased secretion of proteinases, such as plasminogen activator, in several different cell populations. In addition, the shape of the cell may also play a role in regulating proteinase secretion. However, the relationship between cell proliferation, cell shape and proteinase secretion has not been studied in diploid epithelial (E) cells cultured from porcine periodontal ligament (PL). We have modified PLE cell shape by physical means, such as growth on less-adhesive substrata and mechanical stretching, and by exposure to cholera toxin and 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA). Neutral proteinase and plasminogen activator secretion were found to correlate with cell shape, the more round the cells, the greater the amount of proteinase secreted. PLE cells, stimulated to proliferate by cholera toxin or dibutyryl cyclic AMP, were more spread than control cells, but secreted less neutral proteinase and plasminogen activator. TPA stimulated cell proliferation slightly but, in contrast to cholera toxin, increased cell rounding and the secretion of neutral proteinase and plasminogen activator. Thus proteinase secretion was related more to cell shape than to cell proliferation.

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