Molecular mediators of pulp inflammation and regeneration


  • Paul R. Cooper,

  • Anthony J. Smith


Dental tissue infection results in immune and inflammatory responses mediated by molecular and cellular events that, if unchecked, result in tissue breakdown. The tooth, like other tissues and organs within the body, will attempt to repair and regenerate its own hard and soft tissues given the appropriate conditions and environment. However, unchecked infection and inflammation will have a significant impact on the natural regenerative responses of the dental tissues. Thus far, there have been limited studies addressing the inter-relationship between these two processes, which are clearly linked by molecular and cellular events. Indeed, locally derived growth factors, cytokines, and chemokines, which are all sequestrated within the dental tissue extracellular matrix and are also expressed by pulpal cells, immune cells, and/or necrotic host tissue, will have considerable impact on the cellular events within the tissue. In addition to the molecular signaling, there will be important cellular interactions that will occur as stem cells, resident or recruited to the pulp, have known immuno-modulatory activity with significant implications for regenerative events. In this review, we aim to explore how the pulpal tissue responds to the invading bacteria and the signaling mechanisms that are now being described and are important in regulating both the immune/inflammatory and regenerative responses.