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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2012, Article ID 732902, 13 pages
Research Article

Psychological Stress Delays Periodontitis Healing in Rats: The Involvement of Basic Fibroblast Growth Factor

Department of General Dentistry and Emergency, School of Stomatology, Fourth Military Medical University, No. 145 Changle West Road, Xi'an, Shaanxi 710032, China

Received 27 August 2012; Revised 28 October 2012; Accepted 11 November 2012

Academic Editor: Elaine Hatanaka

Copyright © 2012 Ya-Juan Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objective. To evaluate the effects of psychological stress on periodontitis healing in rats and the contribution of basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) expression to the healing process. Methods. Ninety-six rats were randomly distributed into control group, periodontitis group, and periodontitis plus stress group. Then, the rats were sacrificed at baseline and week(s) 1, 2, and 4. The periodontitis healing condition was assessed, and the expression of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and bFGF were tested by immunohistochemistry. Results. The stressed rats showed reduced body weight gain, behavioral changes, and increased serum corticosterone and ACTH levels ( ). The surface of inflammatory infiltrate, alveolar bone loss, attachment loss, and expression of IL-1β and TNF-α in the stress group were higher than those in the periodontitis group at weeks 2 and 4 ( ). Rats with experimental periodontitis showed decreased bFGF expression ( ), and the recovery of bFGF expression in the stress group was slower than that in the periodontitis group ( ). Negative correlations between inflammatory cytokines and bFGF were detected. Conclusion. Psychological stress could delay periodontitis healing in rats, which may be partly mediated by downregulation of the expression of bFGF in the periodontal ligament.