An in vitro Model of Human Dental Pulp Repair
AbstractPulp tissue responds to dentin injury by laying down reactionary dentin secreted by existing odontoblasts or reparative dentin elaborated by odontoblast-like cells that differentiated from precursor cells in the absence of inner dental epithelium and basement membrane. Furthermore, growth factors or active dentin matrix components are fundamental signals involved in odontoblast differentiation. In vitro, dental pulp cells cultured under various conditions are able to express typical markers of differentiation, but no culture system can re-create pulp response to dentin drilling. This paper reports the behavior of thick slices from human teeth drilled immediately after extraction and cultured from 3 days to 1 month. Results show that the damaged pulp beneath the cavity is able to develop, in vitro, some typical aspects correlated to tissue healing, evidenced by cell proliferation (BrdU-positive cells), neovascularization (positive with anti-type-IV collagen antibodies), and the presence of functional (3H proline-positive) cuboidal cells close to the injured area. After 30 days of culture, elongated spindle-shaped cells can be seen aligned along the edges of the relevant dentin walls, whereas sound functional odontoblasts are well-preserved beneath healthy areas. This tissue recovery leads us to believe that such a culture model will be a useful system for testing factors regulating pulp repair.