Effects of Calcitonin Gene-related Peptide on Dental Pulp Stem Cell Viability, Proliferation, and Differentiation

Benoit Michot, Sharon M. Casey, Jennifer L. Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Pulpitis is an inflammation of dental pulp caused by bacterial proliferation near or within pulpal tissues. In advanced stages, when the inflammation is associated with pulp necrosis, pulp preservation is dependent on dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) that can differentiate into odontoblastlike cells and produce reparative dentin. In this study, we evaluated the influence of sensory neurons through calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) on DPSC viability and proliferation and the ability of DPSCs to differentiate into mineralizing cells. Methods: Commercially available DPSCs were treated with varying doses of CGRP, and metabolic activity, viability, proliferation, and cell death were evaluated using 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyl tetrazolium bromide assays, trypan blue staining, 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine cell proliferation assay, and caspase-3 staining, respectively. DPSC differentiation was assessed with alizarin red staining and by quantifying messenger RNA expression of odontoblast makers. Results: CGRP induced a dose-dependent decrease of DPSC metabolic activity that was prevented by the CGRP receptor antagonist CGRP 8-37. The decrease in the proportion of live cells induced by CGRP is associated with a decrease of cell proliferation but not with caspase-3–dependent apoptosis. Interestingly, dexamethasone-induced DPSC differentiation into mineralizing cells was neither inhibited nor enhanced by CGRP treatment. Conclusions: The neuropeptide CGRP has an inhibitory effect on DPSC proliferation but does not enhance or inhibit the differentiation of DPSCs into mineralizing cells. This suggests that CGRP might negatively influence the ability of DPSCs to contribute to regenerative or tissue repair processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)950-956
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of endodontics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2020


  • Calcitonin gene-related peptide
  • cell differentiation
  • dental pulp stem cells
  • neuropeptide
  • pulp biology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry


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