Bradykinin is a potent mediator of pain and inflammation. To examine extracellular levels of bradykinin in human dental pulp, CMA/20 microdialysis probes were inserted into the pulp tissue of 22 teeth diagnosed with normal pulp or with irreversible pulpitis before their extraction or endodontic therapy. Probes were perfused with a modified Locke-Ringer's buffer and bradykinin levels in the dialysate evaluated using a radioimmunoassay. Mean extracellular levels of bradykinin within pulp tissue diagnosed with irreversible pulpitis were significantly higher (262.26 ± 83.79 fmol/ml) than that found within normal pulp (19.41 ± 6.47 fmol/ ml). Highest levels of bradykinin were detected in pulp tissue diagnosed with irreversible pulpitis when the patient had reported pain in the past, compared with patients who were in pain just before their visit. These observations suggest that the bradykinin system is activated during pulpitis and may contribute to pain and inflammation.
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