Effects of Papain-Based Gel Used For Caries Removal on Macrophages and Dental Pulp Cells

Braz Dent J. 2019 Oct 7;30(5):484-490. doi: 10.1590/0103-6440201902560. eCollection 2019.


Papain-based gel is used for chemical-mechanical caries removal and present antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities. However, its effects on dental pulp cells and on macrophages remains largely unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether the papain-based gel Papacárie Duo® acts as an immunomodulator in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated macrophages and its effects on dental pulp cells . J774.1 macrophage and OD-21 dental pulp cells were stimulated with 0.5% and 5% of Papacárie Duo®, following pre-treatment or not with LPS. After 24 h, a lactate dehydrogenase assay was used to measure cytotoxicity, a tetrazolium-based colorimetric assay (MTT) was used to measure cell viability, and qRT-PCR was used to analyze relative gene expression of Ptgs2, Il10, Tnf, Mmp9, Runx2, Ibsp and Spp1. Papacárie Duo® was cytotoxic and reduced cell viability at 5% but not at 0.5% in both cultures. In macrophages, Papacárie Duo® increased the expression Il10 and LPS-induced Ptgs2, but it did not affect Tnf or Mmp9. In OD-21 cells, Papacárie Duo® inhibited Runx2 and Ibsp expression, but stimulated Spp1 expression. Papain-based gel presented a concentration dependent cytotoxicity, without affecting cell viability, for dental pulp cells and macrophages. Interestingly, the gel presented an inhibitory effect on pulp cell differentiation but modulated the activation of macrophages stimulated with LPS. We speculate that in dental pulp tissue, Papacárie Duo® would impair reparative dentinogenesis but could activate macrophages to perform their role in defense and inflammation.

MeSH terms

  • Dental Caries*
  • Dental Cavity Preparation
  • Dental Pulp
  • Humans
  • Macrophages
  • Papain*


  • Papain