The dental pulp is a soft connective tissue of ectomesenchymal origin that harbors distinct cell populations, capable of interacting with each other to maintain the vitality of the tooth. After tooth injuries, a sequence of complex biological events takes place in the pulpal tissue to restore its homeostasis. The pulpal response begins with establishing an inflammatory reaction that leads to the formation of a matrix of reactionary or reparative dentin, according to the nature of the exogenous stimuli. Using several in vivo designs, antigen-presenting cells, including macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs), are identified in the pulpal tissue before tertiary dentin deposition under the afflicted area. However, the precise nature of this phenomenon and its relationship to inherent pulp cells are not yet clarified. This literature review aims to discuss the role of pulpal DCs and their relationship to progenitor/stem cells, odontoblasts or odontoblast-like cells, and other immunocompetent cells during physiological and pathological dentinogenesis. The concept of “dentin-pulp immunology” is proposed for understanding the crosstalk among these cell types after tooth injuries, and the possibility of immune-based therapies is introduced to accelerate pulpal healing after exogenous stimuli.
- Cell differentiation
- Dendritic cells
- Dental pulp
- Extracellular matrix proteins
- Histocompatibility antigens class II
- Stem cells
- Tooth injuries