Catecholamines may play an important role in the control of intrapulpal pressure as mediators of vasoconstriction. A baseline level of catecholamines (dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine) in the uninflamed human dental pulp was previously reported using high-performance liquid chromatography. The purpose of this study was to compare the level of catecholamines present in the inflamed human dental pulp with the baseline level established in virgin teeth. Twelve uninflamed pulps were analyzed as a control and to validate previous findings. Pulp tissue was obtained from 10 vital and inflamed teeth requiring endodontic treatment. Selective criteria for each patient included: absence of systemic disease, medications, and allergies; a vital response to ice, heat, and electric pulp tests; and periodontal probing ≤ 3 mm. A prior history of pain associated with the tooth was an additional criterion for inflamed pulps. To avoid the presence of an exogenous catecholamine, local anesthesia without epinephrine was administered. Dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine were chemically extracted and analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. Catecholamine levels found to be present in the pulp during inflammation were greater than the baseline level established in uninflamed pulp tissue.
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