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J Endod. 2003 Feb;29(2):104-7.

The effect of extracellular calcium ion on gene expression of bone-related proteins in human pulp cells.

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  • 1Department of Periodontology and Endodontology, Hiroshima University Faculty of Dentistry, Japan.


Calcium hydroxide is often used for induction of reparative dentin formation in endodontic treatment. However, little is known about the mechanism by which calcium hydroxide works. The calcium ion (Ca2+) is an important regulator of cell functions. In this study, we examined the effect of extracellular Ca2+ on gene expression of bone-related proteins in human cultured pulp cells in serum-free conditions. A Ca2+ level elevated by 0.7 mM induced an increase in mRNA expression of osteopontin and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2. However, mRNA levels of BMP-4 and alkaline phosphatase decreased under the elevated Ca2+ culture condition. The same concentration of additional magnesium ions had little effect on expressions of the examined bone-related protein mRNAs. These findings suggest that Ca2+ in Ca(OH)2 specifically modulates osteopontin and BMP-2 levels during calcification in pulp.

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