Smith, James George William (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Dental pulp contains mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) similar to those present within bone marrow. Several factors are postulated to contribute to the signalling involved in regulating these cells. This project aimed to investigate the role of pulp and dentine extracellular matrix (pECM/dECM) in the regulation of pulp cell behaviour during health and disease. pECM/dECM molecules were extracted using 10% EDTA, pH7.2 followed by 0.5M-NaCl, pH11.7 and 0.1M tartaric acid, pH2.0, respectively containing protease inhibitors. Proteomic analysis demonstrated the complexity of the ECM extractions. pECM-coated cultureware reduced pulp cell proliferation rates and increased stem cell marker expression compared with controls. Pulp cells exhibited multipotential capacity, with pECM-coated culture surfaces enhancing differentiation activity. pECM and dECM promoted pulp cell migration through an active rho dependent pathway and the chemotactic effects of these ECM molecules were enhanced following acidic/proteolytic degradation. Recruited cells exhibited increased stem cell marker expression. dECM and pECM possessed demonstrable bacteriostatic activity against three anaerobic bacteria associated with dental disease. Dental pulp cells were shown to be viable and capable of secreting mineral when encapsulated within a pECM/alginate scaffold and exposed to dECM molecules. Dental ECMs play important roles in regulating cellular and tissue responses during health and disease.
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