Gene expression profiling of pulpal tissue reveals the molecular complexity of dental caries

Julia Mclachlan, Anthony Smith, Iwona Bujalska, Paul Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

59 Citations (Scopus)


High-throughput characterisation of the molecular response of pulpal tissue under carious lesions may contribute to improved future diagnosis and treatment. To identify genes associated with this process, oligonucleotide microarrays containing similar to 15,000 human sequences were screened using pooled total RNA isolated from pulpal tissue from both healthy and carious teeth. Data analysis identified 445 genes with 2-fold or greater difference in expression level, with 85 more abundant in health and 360 more abundant in disease. Subsequent gene ontological grouping identified a variety of processes and functions potentially activated or down-modulated during caries. Validation of microarray results was obtained by a combination of real-time and semi-quantitative PCR for selected genes, confirming down-regulation of Dentin Matrix Protein-1 (DMP-1), SLIT2, Period-2 (PER2), Period-3 (PER3), osteoadherin, Glypican-3, Midkine, activin receptor interacting protein-1 (AIPI), osteoadherin and growth hormone receptor (GHR), and up-regulation of Adrenomedullin (ADM), Interleukin-11 (IL-11), Bone sialoprotein (BSP), matrix Gla protein (MGP), endothelial cell growth factor-1 (ECGF1), inhibin beta A and orosomucoid-1 (ORM1), in diseased pulp. Real-time PCR analyses of ADM and DMP-1 in a panel of healthy and carious pulpal tissue and also in immune system cells highlighted the heterogeneity of caries and indicated increased expression of ADM in neutrophils activated by bacterial products. In contrast, DMP-1 was predominantly expressed by cells native to healthy pulpal tissue. This study has greatly extended our molecular knowledge of dental tissue disease and identified involvement of genes previously unassociated with this process. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-281
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta. Molecular Basis of Disease
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2005


  • pulpal tissue
  • treatment
  • diagnosis


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