Objectives: This study analyzed the role of the interleukin (IL)-6/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway in dihydropyridine-induced gingival overgrowth (DIGO) fibroblasts. Materials and methods: Tissue samples were obtained through surgical dissection from five DIGO patients and five healthy individuals. Cell cultures were conditioned with nifedipine (Nif) (0.34 µM) and stimulated with IL-1β (10 ng/ml) to clarify whether IL-6 upregulates extracellular matrix overproduction or has an impact on the cell proliferation rate of DIGO fibroblasts. STAT3 was knocked down using short hairpin (sh)RNA to determine its role in collagen (Col) type I alpha 1 (Colα1(I)) synthesis. Results: Results showed that phosphorylated (p)STAT3 nuclear translocation was activated by a simulated autocrine concentration (50 ng/ml) of IL-6, and application of an anti-IL-6 antibody significantly decreased the pSTAT3/STAT3 ratio in DIGO fibroblasts. STAT3 knockdown significantly decreased STAT3 and Colα1(I) expressions in DIGO cells. DIGO tissues presented stronger proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) expression than did healthy individuals under the effect of IL-1β/Nif treatment. Conclusions: Gingival inflammation (e.g., IL-1β) and taking dihydropyridine (e.g., Nif) may additively stimulate Col overproduction through the IL-6−STAT3−Colα1(I) cascade in DIGO cells. IL-6–STAT3 signaling may be considered a target for the control of DIGO.
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