Human odontoblasts trigger immune response s to oral bacteria that invade dental tissues during the caries process. To date, their ability to regulate the expression of the nucleotide-binding domain leucine-rich repeat containing receptor NOD2 when challenged by Gram-positive bacteria is unknown. In this study, we investigated NOD2 expression in healthy and inflamed human dental pulps challenged by bacteria, and in cultured odontoblast-like cells stimulated with lipoteichoic acid (LTA), a Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 agonist which is specific for Gram-positive bacteria. We found that NOD2 gene expression was significantly up-regulated in pulps with acute inflammation compared to healthy ones. In vitro, LTA augmented NOD2 gene expression and protein level in odontoblast-like cells. The increase was more pronounced in odontoblast-like cells compared to dental pulp fibroblasts. Blocking experiments in odontoblast-like cells with anti-TLR2 antibody strongly reduced the NOD2 gene expression increase, whereas stimulation with the synthetic TLR2 ligand Pam(2)CSK(4) confirmed NOD2 gene up-regulation following TLR2 engagement. These data suggest that NOD2 up-regulation is part of the odontoblast immune response to Gram-positive bacteria and might be important in protecting human dental pulp from the deleterious effects of cariogenic pathogens.