Neuropeptides such as calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) and substance P are present in dental pulp in relatively high concentrations. Previous studies have demonstrated that the staining density of immunoreactive CGRP (iCGRP) changes in dental pulp after tissue injury. This study evaluated injury-related changes in levels of both immunoreactive CGRP (iCGRP) and immunoreactive substance P (iSP) in dental pulp using radioimmunoassays. After pulpal exposure, iSP levels decreased to about 10% of baseline values, while iCGRP levels decreased to about 45% of baseline measures. After dentin exposure with acid etch, iSP levels decreased to about 10 to 20% of baseline measures, while iCGRP levels decreased to 60% of baseline values. For both forms of injury, iSP decreased to a greater extent than did iCGRP levels. Collectively, these findings indicate that pulpal neuropeptides undergo dynamic, injury-specific, and peptide-specific responses following trauma to dental pulp.
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