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J Biol Regul Homeost Agents. 2012 Oct-Dec;26(4):713-20.

Human dental pulp cell apoptosis: immunohistochemical study after applying orthodontic traction.

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Department of Experimental Biomedicine and Neuroscience, University of Palermo, Italy.


The aim of this study was to compare human dental pulp stress and programmed cell death after 3 and 6 months of orthodontic treatments by assessing the degree of apoptosis and related proteins. Human dental pulps were collected from twenty young patients orthodontically treated by Straight Wire technique. Samples were fixed, paraffin-embedded and processed for histology and immunohistochemistry using anti-heat shock protein 60 kDa (Hsp60), -caspase 3, -caspase 9, and -PCNA antibodies, as well as TUNEL reactions. Moreover, we performed immunoprecipitation for Hsp60 and caspase 3, and for Hsp60 and caspase 9, from paraffin extracted tissues. Increased levels of both caspases and Hsp60 occurred in 6-months treated samples; at the same time, we found increased levels of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling positive cells. Immunoprecipitation showed that Hsp60 forms a complex with both Pro-caspase 3 and Caspase 3, and this may accelerate Pro-caspase 3 activation, especially in the 6-months treated group. On the contrary, no complex between Hsp60 and Pro-caspase 9 was detected. The orthodontic tractions may be a cause of stress, apoptosis and proliferation in pulp tissue. These results suggest the need of further studies about the effects of long term orthodontic treatments on the dental pulp.

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