Conventional direct pulp-capping materials induce pulp cells to secrete various biomolecules in pulp tissues that promote reparative dentin formation through induction of odontoblastic differentiation of dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs). However, these biomolecules sometimes induce bone-like dentin with poor sealing properties. Therefore, exploration of biomolecules that allow tight sealing by tubular reparative dentin is required. We recently reported that dopamine (DA) is involved in dentinogenesis. Hence, we investigated the effect of DA on odontoblastic differentiation of DPSCs and reparative dentin formation. Both tyrosine hydroxylase (TH), a DA synthetase, and DA were expressed in odontoblast-like cells in vivo. In vitro, their expression was increased during odontoblastic differentiation of DPSCs. Furthermore, TH-overexpressing DPSCs had promoted odontoblastic differentiation and DA production. Moreover, DA stimulation promoted their differentiation and induced tubular reparative dentin. These results suggest that DA produced by TH is involved in odontoblastic differentiation of DPSCs and has an inductive capacity for reparative dentin formation similar to primary dentin. This study may lead to the development of therapy to preserve vital pulp tissues.
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