Neural form of voltage-dependent sodium current in human cultured dental pulp cells

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Intradental, i.e. pulpal, cells may play an important part in sensory transduction in teeth, although the cellular mechanisms and the identity of the specific cell types involved are still unclear. Because the majority of cells in dental pulp are derived from neural crest, it seemed likely that these might have the membrane properties of other neural-derived cells found in the peripheral or central nervous system. The patch-clamp recording technique was used to show that cells in explant cultures from human dental pulp contain a voltage-gated, tetrodotoxin-sensitive inward current. Mean activation potential of the current was -42 ± 2.5 mV and the voltage at half-inactivation was -79.4 ± 5.3 mV, suggesting a neural-like sodium conductance. In addition, these cells were immunoreactive to glial acidic fibrillary protein, growth-associated protein (GAP-43), and vimentin, further suggesting that dental pulp contains a population of cells with membrane properties similar to neuronal satellite cells. These cells may contribute, either directly or indirectly, to somatosensation in teeth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)613-620
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Oral Biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1994


  • GAP-43
  • glial fibrillary acidic protein
  • immunocytochemistry
  • odontoblast
  • patch-clamping
  • vimentin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • General Dentistry
  • Cell Biology


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