Different expressions of connexin 43 and 32 in the fibroblasts of human dental pulp

Tissue Cell. 2002 Jun;34(3):170-6. doi: 10.1016/s0040-8166(02)00028-9.


The expression and localization of gap junctional proteins connexin (Cx) 26, 32, and 43 was examined in human dental pulp. Dental pulp tissues were obtained from human third molars immediately after extraction. Some pulp tissues were used for cell culture, and the rest for histological observations. Immunostaining for cultured dental pulp fibroblasts (DPFs) showed that Cx32 and 43 were expressed in human DPFs, and proteins corresponding to 27 (Cx32) and 43kDa (Cx43) were identified by Western blot analysis. Immunostaining for tissue sections showed that the expression of Cx32 and 43 was observed in the entire region of the pulp and further strong expression of Cx32 was established beneath the cell-rich zone. Considering the close relationship between Cx types and cell functions, the results indicate that DPFs beneath the cell-rich zone may have specific, Cx32-related functions. The cell rich zone is thought to contain progenitor odontoblasts that can be induced to differentiate into mature odontoblasts in response to wounding. Therefore, it may be hypothesized that DPFs just beneath the cell-rich zone produce proteins and induce odontoblast differentiation from the cells in the cell-rich zone.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Connexin 26
  • Connexin 43 / biosynthesis*
  • Connexins / biosynthesis*
  • Dental Pulp / cytology*
  • Dental Pulp / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Molar, Third / cytology
  • Molar, Third / metabolism
  • Odontoblasts / metabolism


  • Connexin 43
  • Connexins
  • connexin 32
  • Connexin 26