Introduction: Homeostasis and tissue repair of dentin-pulp complex are attributed to dental pulp tissue and several growth factors. Dental pulp cells play a pivotal role in homeostasis of dentin-pulp complex and tissue responses after tooth injury. Among these cytokines, fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2 has multifunctional biologic activity and is known as a signaling molecule that induces tissue regeneration. In this study, we examined the effects of FGF-2 on growth, migration, and differentiation of human dental pulp cells (HDPC). Methods: HDPC were isolated from healthy dental pulp. Cellular response was investigated by [3H]-thymidine incorporation into DNA. Cytodifferentiation was examined by alkaline phosphatase (ALPase) assay and cytochemical staining of calcium by using alizarin red. Migratory activity was determined by counting the cells migrating into cleared area that had introduced with silicon block. Results: FGF-2 activated HDPC growth and migration but suppressed ALPase activity and calcified nodule formation. Interestingly, HDPC, which had been pretreated with FGF-2, showed increased ALPase activity and calcified nodule formation when subsequently cultured without FGF-2. These results suggest that FGF-2 potentiates cell growth and accumulation of HDPC that notably did not disturb cytodifferentiation of the cells later. Thus, FGF-2 is a favorable candidate for pulp capping agent. Conclusions: These results provide new evidence for the possible involvement of FGF-2 not only in homeostasis but also in regeneration of dentin-pulp complex.
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