Fibronectin is a major component of the extracellular matrix and is considered to have an important role in chronic inflammatory periodontal disease. The fibronectin gene product has been shown to be subject to alternative splicing in 3 regions, each generating different mRNA transcripts associated specifically with normal adult tissue, embryogenesis, tissue regeneration, and wound healing. In the present study, using the reverse-transcribed polymerase chain reaction to examine splicing profiles of the primary transcript, we found that healthy periodontal tissue expressed all alternatively spliced embryonic isoforms, indicative of the extensive and ongoing rebuilding processes which occur in these tissues. In marked contrast, only the exon-skipped transcripts were generated in tissue from chronic inflammatory periodontal disease patients. The loss of the high molecular weight isoforms in lesional tissues may be due to the excess production of inflammatory mediators in this disease, since we observed that high concentrations of the cytokine IL-1beta caused down-regulation of these transcripts in normal periodontal cells in tissue culture. Moreover, we also demonstrated that growth factors likely to be involved in periodontal regeneration and repair, such as PDGF, IGF-1 and TGF-beta, elicited pronounced upregulation of the embryonic isoforms of fibronectin in these cells. Although the functional activities of the antigens corresponding to the alternatively spliced variants of fibronectin are not yet known, our finding that they are selectively expressed suggests that they have highly specific roles in both periodontal breakdown and repair.