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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Neuropeptide release from dental pulp cells by RgpB via proteinase-activated receptor-2 signaling.

Dental pulp inflammation often results from dissemination of periodontitis caused mostly by Porphyromonas gingivalis infection. Calcitonin gene-related peptide and substance P are proinflammatory neuropeptides that increase in inflamed pulp tissue. To study an involvement of the periodontitis pathogen and neuropeptides in pulp inflammation, we investigated human dental pulp cell neuropeptide release by arginine-specific cysteine protease (RgpB), a cysteine proteinase of P. gingivalis, and participating signaling pathways. RgpB induced neuropeptide release from cultured human pulp cells (HPCs) in a proteolytic activity-dependent manner at a range of 12.5-200 nM. HPCs expressed both mRNA and the products of calcitonin gene-related peptide, substance P, and proteinase-activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) that were also found in dental pulp fibroblast-like cells. The PAR-2 agonists, SLIGKV and trypsin, also induced neuropeptide release from HPCs, and HPC PAR-2 gene knockout by transfection of PAR-2 antisense oligonucleotides inhibited significantly the RgpB-elicited neuropeptide release. These results indicated that RgpB-induced neuropeptide release was dependent on PAR-2 activation. The kinase inhibitor profile on the RgpB-neuropeptide release from HPC revealed a new PAR-2 signaling pathway that was mediated by p38 MAPK and activated transcription factor-2 activation, in addition to the PAR-2-p44/42 p38MAPK and -AP-1 pathway. This new RgpB activity suggests a possible link between periodontitis and pulp inflammation, which may be modulated by neuropeptides released in the lesion.[1]


  1. Neuropeptide release from dental pulp cells by RgpB via proteinase-activated receptor-2 signaling. Tancharoen, S., Sarker, K.P., Imamura, T., Biswas, K.K., Matsushita, K., Tatsuyama, S., Travis, J., Potempa, J., Torii, M., Maruyama, I. J. Immunol. (2005) [Pubmed]
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