Despite its proven cytotoxicity, poly-methyl methacrylate (PMMA) resin is one of the most frequently and extensively used materials in dental practice. This study hypothesized that an anti-oxidant amino acid, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), has the potential to detoxify this material. Ten percent of the rat dental pulp cells were viable when cultured on the PMMA resin for 24 hours, while over 70% of the cells were viable on the NAC-added resin. Nearly all suppressed alkaline phosphatase activity, matrix mineralizing capability, and odontoblastic gene expression, such as dentin sialoprotein, on the untreated control resin was recovered by NAC in a concentration-dependent manner. A Ca/P ratio of 1.65 was found in the extracellular matrix of cultures on NAC-added resin, while that in the untreated resin culture was 0.70. The addition of NAC to PMMA resin significantly ameliorated its cytotoxicity to the dental pulp cells and restored their odontoblast-like cell phenotype to a biologically significant degree.
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