Age-related Changes in the Alkaline Phosphatase Activity of Healthy and Inflamed Human Dental Pulp

Published:November 18, 2015DOI:


      • We aimed to observe the mineralization ability of dental pulp depending on inflammation and age.
      • Inflammation and aging significantly affects the alkaline phosphatase activity.
      • In aging individuals, increased severity of inflammation may trigger calcification events.



      Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) plays an important role in inducing mineralization events in the dental pulp. This study investigated and compared the ALP levels in healthy and inflamed pulp in young and old human pulp.


      Tissue samples were collected from young (<30 years) and old (>60 years) donors. In both age groups, healthy human pulp (n = 18) were collected from extracted wisdom teeth. For reversible and irreversible pulpitis, pulp samples (n = 18 each) were obtained during endodontic treatment. ALP activity was assessed by spectrophotometry and immunhistochemistry.


      Regardless of age, reversible pulpitis group samples showed a slight elevation in ALP activity compared with normal healthy pulp. In elderly patients, ALP expression with irreversible pulpitis was significantly higher than those with a healthy pulp (P < .05).


      In the hyperemic state, both the young and old pulp shows a slight increase in ALP activity, whereas in irreversible pulpitis, only the old pulp shows significantly elevated ALP levels. Such an increase may trigger calcification events, which may eventually cause difficulties in endodontic treatment procedures in elderly individuals.

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