Volume 64 (2001) Issue 4 Pages 425-437
The regeneration process of dental pulp following tooth replantation in rat molars was investigated by immunocytochemistry for heat shock protein (Hsp) 25 and protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5). In control teeth at postnatal 4 weeks, the odontoblasts showed intense Hsp 25-immunoreactivity in the coronal dental pulp, but little or no immunoreactivity in the root and floor pulp. In contrast, the Hsp 25-negative odontoblasts in the latter areas displayed immunoreactivity for PGP 9.5. Tooth replantation caused loss of Hsp 25- and PGP 9.5-immunoreactions in the dental pulp during postoperative days 1-3. At postoperative day 5, plump cells with clear nucleoli and several fine processes - presumably newly differentiated odontoblasts - at the pulp-dentin border became immunopositive for Hsp 25. These data suggest that the expression of Hsp 25- and PGP 9.5-immunoreactivity reflects the status of differentiation of the odontoblasts. Furthermore, some pulpal nerve fibers as well as the Schwann cells in the dental pulp, ordinarily negative in Hsp 25-immunoreaction, acquired their immunoreactivity by postoperative day 5, but lost it thereafter, suggesting the involvement of Hsp 25 in the regeneration of pulpal nerve fibers. In the case of bone-like tissue formation in the pulp space, on the other hand, no Hsp 25-immunoreactive odontoblasts were recognized in the pulp-dentin border. Thus, the alignment of Hsp 25-immunopositive odontoblasts along the pulpdentin border indicates a decisive factor for inducing the reparative dentin formation after tooth replantation.