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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 275172, 8 pages
Review Article

Influence of Mast Cells in Drug-Induced Gingival Overgrowth

1Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, University Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia
2Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Faculty of Dental Science, Sri Ramachandra University, Porur, Chennai 600116, India
3Institute of Bioscience, University Putra Malaysia, 43400 Serdang, Selangor, Malaysia

Received 2 October 2012; Revised 7 December 2012; Accepted 7 December 2012

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Valacchi

Copyright © 2013 Tamilselvan Subramani 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.


Mast cells (MCs) are multifunctional effector cells that were originally thought to be involved in allergic disorders. Now it is known that they contain an array of mediators with a multitude of effects on many other cells. MCs have become a recent concern in drug-induced gingival overgrowth (DIGO), an unwanted outcome of systemic medication. Most of the studies have confirmed the significant presence of inflammation as a prerequisite for the overgrowth to occur. The inflammatory changes within the gingival tissue appear to influence the interaction between the inducing drug and the fibroblast activity. The development of antibodies to MC-specific enzymes, tryptase and chymase, has facilitated the study of mast cells in DIGO. Many immunohistochemical studies involving MCs have been conducted; as a result, DIGO tissues are found to have increased the number of MCs in the gingiva, especially in the area of fibrosis. At the cellular level, gingival fibrogenesis is initiated by several mediators which induce the recruitment of a large number of inflammatory cells, including MCs. The purpose of this paper is to access the roles played by MCs in gingival overgrowth to hypothesize a relationship between these highly specialized cells in the pathogenesis of DIGO.