Pulp Inflammation Diagnosis from Clinical to Inflammatory Mediators: A Systematic Review

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Similar to other tissues, the dental pulp mounts an inflammatory reaction as a way to eliminate pathogens and stimulate repair. Pulp inflammation is prerequisite for dentin pulp complex repair and regeneration; otherwise, chronic disease or pulp necrosis occurs. Evaluation of pulp inflammation severity is necessary to predict the clinical success of maintaining pulp vitality. Clinical limitations to evaluating in situ inflammatory status are well-described. A molecular approach that aids clinical distinction between reversible and irreversible pulpitis could improve the success rate of vital pulp therapy. The aim of this article is to review inflammatory mediator expression in the context of clinical diagnosis.


We searched PubMed and Cochrane databases for articles published between 1970 and December 2016. Only published studies of inflammatory mediator expression related to clinical diagnosis were eligible for inclusion and analysis.


Thirty-two articles were analyzed. Two molecular approaches were described by study methods, protein expression analysis and gene expression analysis. Our review indicates that interleukin-8, matrix metalloproteinase 9, tumor necrosis factor-α, and receptor for advanced glycation end products expression increase at both the gene and protein levels during inflammation.


Clinical irreversible pulpitis is related to specific levels of inflammatory mediator expression. The difference in expression between reversible and irreversible disease is both quantitative and qualitative. On the basis of our analysis, in situ quantification of inflammatory mediators may aid in the clinical distinction between reversible and irreversible pulpitis.

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