The roles of odontoblasts in dental pulp innate immunity

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  • Odontoblasts in dental pulp innate immunity

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Odontoblasts located in the outermost layer of dental pulp form a natural barrier between mineralized tissues, dentin, and soft tissues, dental pulp, of the vital tooth, and they first recognize caries-related pathogens and sense external irritations. Therefore, odontoblasts possess a specialized innate immune system to fight oral pathogens invading into dentin. Generally, the rapid initial sensing of microbial pathogens, especially pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) shared by microorganisms, are mediated by pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), such as Toll-like receptor and the nucleotide-binding oligomerization domain (NOD). The innate immune responses in odontoblasts initiated by sensing oral pathogens provide host protective events, such as inflammatory reactions, to produce a variety of pro-inflammatory mediators, including chemokines and cytokines. These attract various inflammatory cells and cause antibacterial reactions, such as the production of defensins, to kill microorganisms in the proximal region of the odontoblast layer. This review focuses on innate immunity, especially cellular and molecular mechanisms regarding the sensing of PAMPs from oral pathogens by PRRs, in odontoblasts and provides information for future studies for the development of novel therapeutic strategies, including diagnosis and treatment, to prevent exceeding dental pulp inflammation and preserve the dental pulp tissues.


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