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Evidence for changing nerve growth factor signalling mechanisms during development, maturation and ageing in the rat molar pulp

Lookup NU author(s): Anas Mahdee, Jane Eastham, Professor John Whitworth, Professor James Gillespie


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© 2018 International Endodontic Journal. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd Aim: To examine rat molar pulp innervation and identify complex cellular signalling systems involving nerve growth factor (NGF) and its p75 receptors (NGFR) at different stages of development, maturation and ageing. Methodology: Decalcified mandibular first molar mesial cusps from Wistar rats of ages 0 day; 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12 and 24 weeks (n = 5 per group) were sectioned (10 μm) and incubated with antibodies for NGF, NGFR, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and neurofilament. Nerve densities in worn and intact regions of 3- to 24-week-old rats were compared by anova, Bonferroni and t-tests. Results: During odontogenesis, differences in NGF and NGFR expression were observed, with no evidence of nerve fibres, suggesting a signalling mechanism controlling cellular differentiation and dentine formation. Tooth wear in 4-week rats was associated with reduced NGF expression and significantly decreased CGRP axons within affected odontoblast regions. The underlying subodontoblasts started expressing NGF which continued until 9 weeks. This may promote a significant increase in CGRP nerve density in affected regions. Nerve density in intact odontoblast regions increased gradually and reached significant levels in 12-week rats. Reduction in nerve densities within worn and intact regions of cusps was observed at 24 weeks. Conclusions: Age-related changes and responses to tooth wear may be controlled by the NGF signalling mechanism, with roles in odontoblast/subodontoblast communication and control of sensory innervation at different stages of tooth development, maturation and ageing. Greater understanding of cellular and nerve regulation in the injured pulp may promote therapeutic strategies for pulp survival.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mahdee A, Eastham J, Whitworth JM, Gillespie JI

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Endodontic Journal

Year: 2019

Volume: 52

Issue: 2

Pages: 211-222

Print publication date: 01/02/2019

Online publication date: 12/08/2018

Acceptance date: 06/08/2018

ISSN (print): 0143-2885

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2591

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/iej.12997


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