Recent evidence suggests that the sympathetic nervous system may have a role in modulating neurogenic inflammation and bone remodelling. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a well-characterized neuropeptide transmitter in the peripheral sympathetic nervous system. NPY is known to be present in human dental pulp; however, quantitative data on NPY levels in pulpal health and disease in an adult population remain to be determined. The aims of the current study were to assess, quantitatively, NPY levels by radioimmunoassay and confirm the distribution of NPY fibres by immunocytochemistry in carious and non-carious adult human pulp tissue. Our results suggest changes in the levels and distribution of NPY in human dental pulp during the caries process, with significantly higher levels of NPY in carious compared with non-carious adult human teeth. Within the carious samples studied, our finding, that NPY levels were significantly elevated in mild/moderate caries, concurs with the hypothesis that NPY could have a modulatory role in pulpal inflammation and in reparative dentine formation. © 2006 Eur J Oral Sci.
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