Previous studies have implicated transforming growth factor-beta (s)(TGF-beta) in both development. Here TGF-beta isoforms in dentine extracellular matrix were analysed because these molecules may participate in dental issue repair. EDTA-soluble and collagenase-released fractions were isolated from human crown and root and rabbit incisor dentine samples and analysed for TGF-beta isoforms. TGF-beta(1) was the major isoform detected in all samples and the only isoform detected in human dentine samples. TGF-beta(2) was detected only in the collagenase-released fraction of rabbit incisor dentine and was present at low levels. TGF-beta(3) was detected in both EDTA-soluble and collagenase-released fractions of rabbit dentine. Greater levels of the TGF-beta(1) isoform were detected in the rabbit than human dentine samples and some differences in distribution amongst the two tissue fractions were observed between these species. The presence of these isoforms of TGF-beta in dentine may provide a reservoir of growth factor in the matrix that could participate in processes leading to tissue repair after injury.