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Effects of the methacrylate/acrylate monomers HEMA, TEGDMA, DEGDA, and EMA on the immune system

Journal article
Authors Sara Alizadehgharib
Anna-karin Östberg
Ulf Dahlgren
Published in Clinical and Experimental Dental Research
Volume 3
Issue 6
Pages 227–234
ISSN 2057-4347
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Odontology
Institute of Odontology, Section 3
Pages 227–234
Language en
Subject categories Laboratory animal science, Dentistry, Biomaterials


Incomplete curing of dental fillings may lead to leakage of methacrylate/acrylate monomers, which may come in contact with different cells of the immune system in oral tissues. Very little is known about the different immunologic effects caused by these methacrylates/acrylates. The objective of the present study was to study if and how the methacrylate/acrylate monomers ethyl methacrylate (EMA) and diethylene glycol diacrylate (DEGDA) affect the immune system in vivo and in vitro in comparison to 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and triethylene glycol dimethacrylate (TEGDMA). Human peripheral blood mononuclear cells were exposed to the different monomers (500 and 1000 μM) for 24 hr in vitro. BioPlex Pro™ assays were used for cytokine analysis. In vivo, BALB/c mice were immunized subcutaneously at the base of the tail with HEMA, TEGDMA, EMA, or DEGDA in combination with ovalbumin (OVA) in order to study adjuvant properties of the 4 monomers. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells exposed to DEGDA had viability less than 50% of the cells. A pattern was observed where the levels of most cytokines were elevated after exposure to HEMA or TEGDMA. Since that, many cells died after DEGDA-exposure, the only observed cytokine secretion was a significantly increased production of interleukin-18. In the in vivo experiments, all mice immunized with DEGDA died after the booster injection. Mice receiving OVA in combination with HEMA, TEGDMA, or EMA developed a higher immunoglobulin G anti-OVA antibody levels compared to the group immunized with OVA alone. We could not demonstrate any significant difference in antibody levels among the mice receiving the various methacrylate/acrylate monomers. The different monomers affected the production, increase and decrease, of different cytokines in vitro but resulted also in vivo in increased antibody production and T-cell activity.

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