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Amelogenins in Human Developing and Mature Dental Pulp

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Amelogenins are a group of heterogenous proteins first identified in developing tooth enamel and reported to be present in odontoblasts. The objective of this study was to elucidate the expression and function of amelogenins in the human dentin-pulp complex. Developing human tooth buds were immunostained for amelogenin, and mRNA was detected by in situ hybridization. The effects of recombinant amelogenins on pulp and papilla cell proliferation were measured by Brd U immunoassay, and differentiation was monitored by alkaline phosphatase expression. Amelogenin protein was found in the forming dentin matrix, and amelogenin mRNA was localized in the dentin, presumably in the odontoblast processes. Proliferation of papilla cells was enhanced by recombinant human amelogenin rH72 (LRAP+ exon 4), while pulp cells responded to both rH72 and rH58 (LRAP), with no effect by rH174. These studies suggest that odontoblasts actively synthesize and secrete amelogenin protein during human tooth development, and that low-molecular-weight amelogenins can enhance pulp cell proliferation.

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