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Department of Oral Biology

Department of Oral BiologyAddress H-1089 Budapest, Nagyvárad tér 4.
Tel: (+36-1) 210-4415
Fax: (+36-1) 210-4421

Director Professor Gábor Varga, Ph.D., D.Sc.

Background The Department of Oral Biology is the only theoretical/pre-clinical institute of the Faculty of Dentistry. Founded in 1989, the Department was preceded by the Oral Biology Group of the Faculty of Dentistry, which had been formed by staff members of the Department of Pathophysiology with doctoral degrees in dentistry.

Profile Oral biology deals with the function and interactions of organs functionally related to the oral cavity, and the relationship of these organs with other parts of the organism both in health and disease.

Education The Department teaches two subjects and several special courses to 3rd, 4th and 5th year dental students: General and Oral Pathophysiology, a pre-clinical subject with special attention to topics important for dental students, and Oral Biology, which provides knowledge at the pre-clinical level. This latter subject started to be introduced as part of dental education in Hungarian medical schools at the end of the 1970s (1982 at Semmelweis University). The theoretical and practical components of the subjects were developed by the Department’s faculty members, based on the British and Scandinavian approach. Oral biology has been taught in a partial credit-point system since 1994.

The Oral Biology Lectures notebook was first published in 1986, while the first volume of the book Oral Biology, which deals with the biology of hard dental tissues, appeared in 1999. The Oral Biology book appeared in 2007 with extensive content on the field of oral biology. We published an e-book in 2014 with the collaboration to provide identical learning materials in three different languages (Hungarian, English and German) on the topics of both Oral Biology, and General and Oral Pathophysiology for students studying dentistry.

Research The Department’s main focus is on topics related to the interface between modern biology and clinical dentistry. Some of these include:

Postnatal stem cells of dental origin. We isolate cells from human dental pulp and periodontal ligament, to develop in vitro model systems and processes for identification of stem cells, which have the potential for full or partial regeneration of dental tissues. Cultures containing pluripotent postnatal stem cells from the dental pulp (DPSC) and periodontal ligament (PDLSC) are prepared. We determine their proliferative capacity and clonogenity, and study the effect of BMPs and extracellular matrix components on proliferation and (trans)differentiation of these cultures. Such cells could serve as cellular resources for tissue engineering applications.

Human salivary gland model for exploring the molecular mechanisms of epithelial secretion. Primary cultures are prepared of human submandibular gland to provide optimal conditions for the formation of either ductal- or acinar-like polarized epithelia. We use cell lines as reference systems. The HSG cells are capable of ductal-acinar transdifferentiation but it does not form a tight epithelial monolayer. Par-C10, Capan-1, Panc-1 and HPAF can form high-resistance epithelia capable of transepithelial electrolyte and water transport. The work helps to establish the basis for future therapeutic interventions by pinpointing possible target genes to correct salivary gland dysfunction.

Bone regeneration and osseointegration studies. The “Ossi model, originally introduced by Dr. József Blazsek at the department describe the rat tail as a potential host for implant insertion. This model, now further developed allows, to analyze the osseointegration process with multiple methods combining the non-invasive and invasive approaches. The rat tail based animal model also allows to evaluate the bone regeneration promoted by different regenerative materials and validate the osseointegration capacity of different materials/surface modifications, and alsolocal and systemic effects of bioactive compoundsThis bone regeneration model may serve as a useful standard for preclinical evaluations for tissue engineering.

Antibacterial effects of bicarbonate We investigate the effects of bicarbonate on the growth of different bacteria relevant in cystic fibrosis and other chronic airway and oral diseases. Currently we use the WinCF model and artificial sputum medium to study the bacterial growth. Particul emphasis is put on the effects of bicarbonate regarding biofilm formation and production of intracellular second messenger molecules such as cAMP and c-di-GMP. We are also interested in studying bicarbonate- and/or pH-dependent changes in rheological properties of mucin molecules.

A novel cellular model for functional studies to elucidate amelogenesis and to examine factors and new mechanisms contributing to enamel hypomineralization defects: In vivo functional investigation of amelogenesis is hard. Therefore we established a cellular model , using HAT-7 ameloblast originated cells to investigate the mineral transport processes and pH regulation which are both important in the process of amelogenesis. The cells are seeded and differentiated on a permeable membrane to obtain a polarized cell monolayer. Transepithelial resistance is measured and intracellular pH changes are monitored by microfluorometry using the fluorescence indicator BCECF-AM. Intracellular and transcellular calcium ion movements are followed by short-circuit measurements, and also by Ca-imaging and patch-clamp technologies. Transporter activities are investigated by withdrawal of various ions from outer solutions and by using specific inhibitors and modulating agents. Elucidating the molecular mechanisms of amelogenesis may result in the development of novel tissue engineering techniques and ultimately achieve enamel regeneration.

Last updated: 5 November, 2018