Expression of Neurotrophic Factors in Human Dentin and Their Regulation of Trigeminal Neurite Outgrowth

Obadah Austah, Matthias Widbiller, Phillip L. Tomson, Anibal Diogenes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Introduction: Neurotrophic factors play a significant role in the innervation of the pulp-dentin complex during and after organogenesis. There have been numerous bioactive molecules identified in the dentin extracellular matrix; however, the expression of neurotrophic factors in the dentin matrix and their biological activity are largely unknown. The purpose of this study was to characterize the relative expression of neurotrophic factors in human dentin matrix proteins (DMPs) and their effect on neurite outgrowth of trigeminal (TG) neurons. Methods: Dentin was powdered in liquid nitrogen from noncarious human third molar teeth. DMPs were solubilized through an EDTA extraction method, dialyzed, and lyophilized until use. The relative expression of nerve growth factor, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, glial cell−line derived neurotrophic factor, neurotrophin 3, and neurotrophin 4/5 was determined by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Rat TG neurons were cultured and exposed to different concentrations of DMPs (1–10 5 ng/mL) or vehicle, and a quantitative neurite outgrowth assay was performed. Results: Human DMPs contained all of the tested neurotrophic factors, with glial cell−line derived neurotrophic factor and neurotrophin 4/5 found at the highest levels. DMPs were able to promote the neurite outgrowth of rat TG neurons at an optimum concentration of 10–10 2 ng/mL, whereas the effect was partially inhibited at higher concentrations (>10 3 ng/mL). Conclusions: The human dentin extracellular matrix is a rich reservoir for neurotrophic factors that are key components for neuronal homeostasis, differentiation, and regeneration. These data suggest that neurotrophins in DMPs could play an important role as signaling molecules for the innervation of the pulp-dentin complex during the processes of tooth formation, repair, and regeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-419
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of endodontics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


  • Dentin matrix protein
  • dentinogenesis
  • neurite outgrowth
  • neurotrophic factors
  • neurotrophins
  • regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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