The organic matrix component of human pulp stones was investigated by immunohistochemistry. Two pulp stones were extracted from the upper molar teeth of two patients suffering from irreversible pulpitis. Both were formed in the center of the pulp cavity and located apart from the dentin walls. After demineralization, serial sections of the stones were prepared and subjected to immunohistochemical procedures using specific antibodies to type I collagen and noncollagenous proteins (osteopontin, osteonectin, and osteocalcin), which are reported to be involved in calcified matrix formation. Type I collagen was localized evenly in the stones, indicating that it is a major matrix component of pulp stones. Strong immunostaining of osteopontin appeared in the peripheral area of the stones, whereas osteonectin and osteocalcin were not detected. We previously reported that dental pulp cells produced osteopontin in vitro. Osteopontin has been commonly found in other pathological calcification, such as urinary stones, atherosclerotic plaques, and dental calculus. Taken together, the present findings suggest that osteopontin produced by dental pulp cells is possibly associated with calcification of the pulp stone matrix.
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