Discovery of dental inflammation mechanism paves way for bone loss therapy

06 October, 2023 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

Researchers have made discoveries about the mechanisms involved in dental pulp inflammation and root apex damage that pave the way for a search for medications that can be used to inhibit the bone loss due to endodontic infection.

The key element in the mechanisms is tumor necrosis factor-α receptor-1 (TNFR1), which becomes pro-inflammatory on binding to the cytokine TNF-α.

In one of the scenarios analysed, the TNF-α-TNFR1 signaling pathway protected teeth and permitted repair, but in the other case, it acted in the opposite direction, leading to an inflammatory process with bone loss. The difference was due to the presence or absence of microorganisms.

The difference was due to the presence or absence of microorganisms.

One of the studies, reported in the Journal of Endodontics, showed that TNFR1 is involved in the formation of reparative dentin after dental pulp capping, a procedure in which bioactive material is placed over exposed pulp to encourage healing at the site of injury.

In the other study, reported in the same journal, the scientists observed that the TNF-α-TNFR1 signaling pathway is responsible for mediating bone tissue degradation after root canal contamination. The pathway plays an important role in inflammation and bone loss when the root canal is contaminated by microorganisms. If it is blocked, the negative effects can be reduced.

The articles resulted from the Ph.D. research of Luciano Aparecido de Almeida Júnior at the University of São Paulo.

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