Sympathetic nerve fibers sprout into rat odontoblast layer, but not into dentinal tubules, in response to cavity preparation

Yoichi Shimeno, Yumiko Sugawara, Masahiro Iikubo, Noriaki Shoji, Takashi Sasano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This study was designed to determine if sympathetic nerve fibers exist in dentinal tubules in rat normal dental pulp, and if they sprout into the dentinal tubules in response to artificial cavity preparation in dentin. Sympathetic nerve fibers in rat molar dental pulp were labeled using an anterograde axonal transport technique involving injection of wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) into the superior cervical ganglion (SCG). They were then observed using light and electron microscopes. In normal dental pulp (control), scattered WGA-HRP reaction products were observed in unmyelinated nerve endings in the odontoblast layer and subodontoblastic region. In injured pulp 3 weeks after cavity preparation, reaction products were about 1.8-times more plentiful in the above areas (versus control pulp). However, no labeled nerve fibers were observed in the dentinal tubules in either control or injured dental pulp. These results indicate that although sympathetic nerve fibers do indeed sprout in rat dental pulp in response to cavity preparation, they do not penetrate into the dentinal tubules in which postganglionic nerve endings derived from the SCG were not originally present.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-77
Number of pages5
JournalNeuroscience Letters
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Apr 11


  • Anterograde axonal transport
  • Dental pulp
  • Dentinal tubule
  • Sympathetic nerve fiber
  • Wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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