The effects of up to 240 days of tacrolimus therapy on the gingival tissues of rats - A morphological evaluation
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Background: Tacrolimus, an immunosuppressive drug used in organ transplantation, has been reported not to induce gingival overgrowth. However, prevalence studies are limited, and the methods used for assessing gingival overgrowth varies among studies. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of up to 240 days of tacrolimus therapy on gingival tissues of rats. Materials and methods: Rats were treated for 60, 120, 180 and 240 days with daily subcutaneous injections of 1 mg/kg body weight of tacrolimus. After histological processing, the oral and connective tissue, volume densities of fibroblasts (Vf), collagen fibers (Vcf) and other structures (Vo) were assessed in the region of the lower first molar. Results: After 60 and 120 days of treatment with tacrolimus, gingival overgrowth was not observed. The gingival epithelium, connective tissue, as well as the values for Vf, Vcf, and Vo were similar to those of the control rats (P > 0.05). After 180 and 240 days of the treatment, gingival overgrowth was associated with a significant increase in the gingival epithelium and connective tissue as well as an increase in the V f and Vcf (P < 0.05). Conclusions: Within the limits of the experimental study, it may be concluded that the deleterious side effects of tacrolimus on the gingival tissues of rats may be time-related. © 2007 Blackwell Munksgaard All rights reserved.