Light-microscopical investigation of the distribution of extracellular matrix molecules and calcifications in human dental pulps of various ages
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- Hillmann, G. & Geurtsen, W. Cell Tissue Res (1997) 289: 145. doi:10.1007/s004410050860
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The distribution of extracellular matrix molecules, especially collagen types I, III, V, and VI, in the extracellular matrix of the connective tissue of human dental pulp of various ages was studied by polarization and indirect immunofluorescence microscopy by using a conventional fluorescence microscope and a confocal laser scanning microscope. Polarization and immunofluorescence microscopy of paraffin sections showed thick fibers of collagen type I, which represented the main component of the connective tissue matrix of the dental pulp. By indirect immunofluorescence, thin fibers and small bundles of collagen type III were determined to be one of the main fibrillar elements present in the dental pulp matrix. Collagen type IV was detected by a clear intense staining of the basement membrane of blood vessels at all ages examined. Collagens type V and VI formed a dense meshwork of thin microfibrils throughout the stroma of the connective tissue of the dental pulp. These fibers were localized around blood vessels and appeared to be enriched in the subodontoblastic layer. Investigations by means of confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed fibers of collagen type VI spiralling between fully differentiated odontoblasts toward the predentin layer. With advancing age, the connective tissue matrix appeared to be condensed and aggregates of thick fiber bundles could be observed. Furthermore, the participation of various collagen types in the composition of pulp stones was shown. These calcifications and diffuse calcifications increased in frequency with advancing age in a statistically significant manner.