Effects of tobacco products on the attachment and growth of periodontal ligament fibroblasts

J A James, N M Sayers, D B Drucker, P S Hull

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Cigarette smoking is one of the most significant risk factors in the development and further advancement of inflammatory periodontal disease, however, the role of either nicotine or its primary metabolite cotinine in the progression of periodontitis is unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effects of nicotine and cotinine on the attachment and growth of fibroblasts derived from human periodontal ligament (PDL).

METHODS: Primary cultures were prepared from the roots of extracted premolar teeth. Cells were used at both low (P3 to P5) and high (P11 to P13) passage. Cell numbers were determined over 14 days using either the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay or with a Coulter counter. Cultures were exposed to culture medium supplemented with 1) 15% fetal calf serum (FCS) only; 2) 1% FCS only; 3) 1% FCS and nicotine (concentration range 5 ng/ml to 10 mg/ml); or 4) 1% FCS and cotinine (concentration range 0.5 ng/ml to 10 microg/ml).

RESULTS: Nicotine significantly (P <0.05, by ANOVA) inhibits attachment and growth of low passage cells at concentrations >1 mg/ml and high passage PDL fibroblasts at concentrations >0.5 mg/ml. Cotinine, at the highest concentration used (10 microg/ml), appeared to inhibit attachment and growth of both low and high passage fibroblasts but this was not statistically significant (P >0.05, by ANOVA).

CONCLUSIONS: Tobacco products inhibit attachment and growth of human PDL fibroblasts. This may partly explain the role of these substances in the progression of periodontitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-25
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Periodontology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1999


  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Coloring Agents
  • Cotinine
  • Culture Media
  • Disease Progression
  • Fibroblasts
  • Humans
  • Nicotine
  • Nicotinic Agonists
  • Periodontal Ligament
  • Periodontitis
  • Plants, Toxic
  • Smoking
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Tobacco


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