Autologous oral mucosal epithelial cell sheets have been used for treating epithelial defects such as cornea and esophagus. The cell source of patients' oral mucosal epithelial cell sheet should be examined in normality because it has individual difference. In this study, oral mucosal epithelial cells were less invasively collected by brush biopsy from the buccal, gingival, labial, and palate mucosa of four healthy volunteer donors without anesthesia, and analyzed the keratin expressions by western blotting and the obtained results were compared with those by immunohistochemistry of each of the native tissues. All of the oral mucosal epithelial cells expressed keratin 4 (K4) and K13, which were mucosal stratified squamous epithelial cell markers. K1 and K10, keratinized epithelial cell markers, were also detected in keratinized tissues such as gingival and palate mucosa. The markers of epithelial basal cells such as p63 and K15 were not detected by brush biopsy-western blotting. Although this method does not include basal layers of oral mucosa, protein expressions of upper layer of lesion area are different from normal. Therefore, brush biopsy-western blotting was extremely less invasive and would contribute to quality control of the fabrication of autologous oral mucosal epithelial cell sheets.
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