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Histochemistry. 1992;97(2):111-20.

Effect of traumatic occlusion on CGRP and SP immunoreactive nerve fibre morphology in rat molar pulp and periodontium.

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  • 1Department of Cariology and Endodontics, School of Dentistry, University of Bergen, Norway.


Traumatic occlusion provides a trauma that affects the whole tooth and its supporting tissues. To study the effect of this trauma on CGRP and SP immunoreactive nerve morphology in pulp and periodontium, traumatic occlusion was induced in 2-months-old rats. The occlusal surface of the first maxillary molar in 30 rats were unilaterally raised 1 mm with a composite material. At different observation periods up to 30 days, the rats were transcardiacally perfused, the jaws demineralized, sectioned and processed for immunohistochemistry with the avidin-biotin-peroxidase method. Changes in nerve morphology, distribution and density in first and second molars and their supporting tissues were analyzed and compared in experimental (n = 30) and control rats (n = 14). Already after 5 days with traumatic occlusion, 22% of the experimental teeth had increased density of CGRP and SP immunoreactive nerves locally in gingiva, the periodontal ligament and the pulp, while in 15%, axonal proliferation and changed nerve morphology were found in the whole pulp (severe reaction). During a 20-day period, the pulpal nerve reactions progressed and included the whole pulp in 46% of the experimental teeth. The periodontal nerve responses were still localized only to the cervical and apical regions, and they remained local in these areas throughout the experimental periods. After 20 days the number of teeth with severe nerve changes seemed to decrease. The study shows that an unilateral change in occlusion of the first molar initiate nerve responses in the total molar dentition. In this experimental model the pulpal axons containing CGRP and SP reacted more serious to occlusal trauma than the nerves in the periodontium. The results indicate that the nerve changes in some cases might be transient.

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