Immunohistochemical Evaluation of BARX1, DLX4, FOXE1, HOXB3, and MSX2 in Nonsyndromic Cleft Affected Tissue

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Background: Nonsyndromic craniofacial clefts are relatively common congenital malformations which could create a significant negative effect on the health status and life quality of affected individuals within the pediatric population. Multiple cleft candidate genes and their coded proteins have been described with their possible involvement during cleft formation. Some of these proteins like Homeobox Protein BarH-like 1 (BARX1), Distal-Less Homeobox 4 (DLX4), Forkhead Box E1 (FOXE1), Homeobox Protein Hox-B3 (HOXB3), and Muscle Segment Homeobox 2 (MSX2) have been associated with the formation of craniofacial clefts. Understanding the pathogenetic mechanisms of nonsyndromic craniofacial cleft formation could pro-vide a better knowledge in cleft management and could be a possible basis for development and improvement of cleft treatment options. This study investigates the presence of BARX1, DLX4, FOXE1, HOXB3, and MSX2 positive cells by using immunohistochemistry in different types of cleft-affected tissue while determining their possible connection with cleft pathogenesis process.
Materials and Methods: Craniofacial cleft tissue material was obtained during cleft-correcting surgery from patients with nonsyndromic craniofacial cleft diagnosis. Tissue material was gathered from patients who had unilateral cleft lip (n=36), bilateral cleft lip (n=13), and cleft palate (n=26). Control group (n=7) tis-sue material was received from individuals without any craniofacial clefts. The number of factor positive cells in the control group and patient group tissue was evaluated by using the semiquantitative counting method. Data was evaluated with the use of nonparametric statistical methods.
Results:Statistically significant differences were identified between the number of BARX1, FOXE1, HOXB3, and MSX2-containing cells in controls and cleft patient groups but no statistically significant differ-ence was found for DLX4. Statistically significant correlations between the evaluated factors were also notified in cleft patient groups.
Conclusions:HOXB3 could be more associated with morphopathogenesis of unilateral cleft lip during post-natal course of the disorder. FOXE1 and BARX1 could be involved with both unilateral and bilateral cleft lip morphopathogenesis. The persistence of MSX2 in all evaluated cleft types could indicate its possible interaction within multiple cleft types. DLX4 most likely is not involved with postnatal cleft morphopathogenesis process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-239
JournalActa medica Lituanica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • cleft lip
  • cleft palate
  • homeobox genes
  • cleft candidate genes

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine
  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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