1998 Volume 61 Issue 1 Pages 1-15
The distribution and ultrastructure of the class II major histocompatibility complex (MHC) antigen-expressing cells in the pulp tissue of human deciduous teeth during the process of physiological root resorption was surveyed by histochemical and immunocytochemical methods using an anti-human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-DR-monoclonal antibody. Dental pulp was found to contain numerous HLA-DR-positive cells of various shapes; those showing a dendritic appearance were located mainly in the periphery of the pulp tissue, associated closely with the odontoblasts. The immunopositive cells sometimes extended their cytoplasmic processes into the dentinal tubules and increased in number in the areas affected by dental caries, attrition or restorative procedures, implicating their role in immunosurveillance.
The immunopositive cells were located consistently at the pulp-dentin border during the stage of active resorption, adjacent to the preodontoclasts or odontoclasts, and covered the exposed dentin surface after the detachment of the odontoclasts until the onset of cementum formation. These data suggest that the HLA-DR-immunopositive cells in the coronal pulp of human deciduous teeth play an inductive role in the differentiation, migration and/or activation of the odontoclasts and cementoblast-like cells during the stages of tooth resorption.