Alkaline conditions in the oral cavity may be caused by a variety of stimuli, including tobacco products, antacids, alkaline drinking water and bicarbonate toothpaste. However, the effects of an alkaline pH on the oral mucosa had not been elucidated. The purpose of this study was to investigate how basal keratinocytes are actively involved in re-epithelialization after alkaline chemical injury. We generated epithelial defects in the oral mucosa of mice by applying an alkaline chemical, and the localization of cytokeratin 13, cytokeratin 14, PCNA and p63 was investigated during the re-epithelialization process. PCNA- and p63-positive staining was seen in basal cells covering the wound surface at 1 day after the chemical injury. Cytokeratin 14-positive and PCNA-negative basal keratinocytes were localized in a few layers of the wound epithelium during epithelial outgrowth. Cytokeratin 14-positive and PCNA-positive basal keratinocytes, indicating proliferation, were localized over the entire layer of the epithelium at the wound margin. These results imply that basal keratinocytes at the wound margin migrate to the wound surface, provoke differentiation and keratinization during epithelial outgrowth and that epithelial cells are supplied from the wound margin to the epithelial outgrowth after alkaline chemical injury.
2014 The Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry