This study examines the aspartate aminotransferase activity in the pulp of orthodontically treated teeth. Seventeen healthy male and female subjects (ages: 14.5-19.6; mean 16.8 +/- 1.6 years) who needed extraction of the maxillary first premolars for orthodontic reasons were enrolled in the study. One randomly chosen maxillary first premolar, included in a straight-wire fixed orthodontic appliance and supporting orthodontic force, was considered as the test tooth. The contralateral first premolar, included in the orthodontic appliance but not subjected to mechanical stress, was used as the control tooth. After a week of treatment, the dental pulp tissues were extracted from both experimental teeth. Aspartate aminotransferase activity was significantly elevated in the test teeth as compared with the control teeth. These results demonstrate that in the early phases of treatment, orthodontic force application to the teeth can lead to significant metabolic changes in the pulp of these teeth.