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J Endod. 2008 Oct;34(10):1191-7. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2008.06.011. Epub 2008 Aug 23.

Mechanisms of N-acetyl cysteine-mediated protection from 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate-induced apoptosis.

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The Jane and Jerry Weintraub Center for Reconstructive Biotechnology, The Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center (JCCC), Dental Research Institute, Division of Oral Biology and Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA.


Resin-based materials are now commonly used in dentistry in restorative materials as well as in endodontic sealers. These materials have been shown to be cytotoxic. The mechanisms by which resin-based materials mediate their adverse effects have not been completely elucidated. Here we show that 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) induces apoptotic cell death in oral keratinocytes and immune cells through the intrinsic cell death pathway. Functional loss and cell death induced by HEMA was significantly inhibited in the presence of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) treatment. In addition, HEMA induced a decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential, and an increase in cleaved caspases was potently inhibited in the presence of NAC treatment. Overall, the results reported in this article indicate that NAC is an effective chemoprotectant that can safely be used to protect the pulp and the surrounding tissues from adverse effects of dental restorative and endodontic materials.

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