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To investigate rapid palatal expansion (RPE)–induced metabolic changes in human dental pulp by measuring the expression and activity of aspartate aminotransferase (AST).mRNA and protein levels of AST in human dental pulp were measured by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot, respectively. Furthermore, the activity of AST was measured by a full automatic biochemical analyzer.AST mRNA and protein levels were found to be expressed in normal dental pulp. Moreover, the expression of AST was increased significantly after 14 days of RPE and then decreased at 1 month in retention. Three and 6 months after RPE, the AST expression level was gradually decreased to its baseline level. Similarly, AST activity was significantly elevated after 14 days of RPE, which was then down-regulated at 1 month in retention but was still kept at a higher level as compared with the control group. The enzymatic activity of AST was slowly decreased to its baseline level at 3 and 6 months in retention.These results showed that significant reversible metabolic changes occurred in dental pulp during RPE, which revealed the high capacity of the pulp tissue for adaptation to this orthopedic method.