Main Article Content
Dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP1) and dentin sialophosphoprotein (DSPP) are extracellular matrix proteins produced by odontoblasts involved in the dentin mineralization. The aim this study was to compare the distribution of DMP1 and DSPP in human sound dentin vs human sclerotic dentin. Sixteen sound and sixteen carious human molars were selected, fixed in paraformaldehyde and processed for immunohistochemical detection of DMP1 and DSPP by means of light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and high-resolution field emission in-lens scanning electron microscopy (FEI-SEM). Specimens were submitted to a pre-embedding or a post-embedding immunolabeling technique using primary antibodies anti DMP1 and anti-DSPP and gold-conjugated secondary antibodies. Other samples were processed for the detection of DMP1 and DSPP levels. Dentin from these samples was mechanically fractured to powder, then a protein extraction and a protein level detection assay were performed. DMP1 and DSPP were more abundant in carious than in sound samples. Immunohistochemical analyses in sclerotic dentin disclosed a high expression of DMP1 and DSPP inside the tubules, suggesting an active biomineralization of dentin by odontoblasts. Furthermore, the detection of small amounts of these proteins inside the tubules far from the carious lesion, as shown in the present study, is consistent with the hypothesis of a preventive defense of all dentin after a noxious stimulus has undermined the tooth.