MATERIALS AND RESULTS: Thirty-five paraffin-embedded ameloblastoma cases, ameloblastoma-derived cell lines (AM-1), and primary cultures of ameloblastoma stromal fibroblasts (ASF) were used. Immunohistochemistry, MTT assay, Western blotting, and RT-PCR were performed on these samples. Parenchyma-stromal CCN2 overexpression correlated significantly with fibrous-type stroma, but not with myxoid-type stroma, suggesting a role of CCN2 in fibrosis (P < 0.05). Recombinant CCN2 induction of enhanced ASF proliferation in AM-1 medium supports this view. Conversely, BMP4 and TGF-β were expressed in myxoid-type fibroblasts, but little expression was found in parenchyma. RANKL-positive and CD68-positive stromal cell populations were significantly greater in myxoid-type tumor areas than in fibrous-type tumor areas, while a higher Ki-67 labeling index was recorded in ameloblastoma with fibrous-type stroma. These data suggest that stromal properties influence bone resorption-related activities and growth rates, respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the effects of secreted growth factors are governed by ameloblastoma parenchyma-stromal interactions. CCN2 promotes fibrogenesis independent of TGF-β signaling. Absence of CCN2 expression is associated with a phenotypic switch to a myxoid-type microenvironment that is conducive for TGF-β/BMP4 signaling to promote osteoclastogenesis.