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Exp Cell Res. 2014 Jul 15;325(2):65-71. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2013.12.012. Epub 2013 Dec 18.

Odontoblast physiology.

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Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon (IGFL), UMR CNRS 5242-69100 Villeurbanne, Université de Lyon, Université Lyon1, 69100-Villeurbanne, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 Allée d'Italie, 69364-Lyon Cedex 07, France. Electronic address:


Odontoblasts are post-mitotic cells organized as a layer of palisade cells along the interface between the dental pulp and dentin. They are responsible for the formation of the physiological primary and secondary dentins. They synthesize the organic matrix of type I collagen and actively participate to its mineralization by secreting proteoglycans and non-collagenous proteins that are implicated in the nucleation and the control of the growth of the mineral phase. They also participate to the maintenance of this hard tissue throughout the life of the tooth by synthesizing reactionary dentin in response to pathological conditions (caries, attrition, erosion…). Besides these fundamental dentinogenic activities, odontoblasts were recently suspected to play a role as sensor cells. They are able to sense the bacteria invasion during caries and then to initiate the pulp immune and inflammatory response. They are also well equipped in ion channels implicated in mechanotransduction or nociception which make odontoblasts suitable candidates to sense external stimuli and to mediate tooth pain sensation.


Innate immune response; Nociception; Odontoblast; Primary dentin; Reactionary dentin

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