Pulp Fibroblasts Synthesize Functional Complement Proteins Involved in Initiating DentinePulp Regeneration

  • Chmilewsky Fanny
  • Jeanneau Charlotte
  • Laurent Patrick
  • About Imad


The complement system is an efficient plasma immune surveillance system that controls tissue injury and infection. Although the liver constitutes the primary circulating complement protein synthesis site, extrahepatic synthesis is known to optimize local tissue inflammatory reaction. Because dentin–pulp regeneration is known to be regulated locally, we investigated activation of the local complement system within the dental pulp and its role in initiating the regeneration process. Membrane attack complex (C5b-9) formation and Gram's staining revealed that complement activation is correlated with the presence of Gram-positive bacteria in carious human teeth. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that cultured human pulp fibroblasts stimulated with lipoteichoic acid produce all the proteins required for efficient complement activation. This was demonstrated in vitro by C5b-9 formation and C5a active fragment production in the absence of plasma proteins. Finally, the dynamic migration assays performed in μ-Slide chemotaxis chambers and use of a C5aR-specific antagonist (W54011) demonstrated that the activation of complement proteins synthesized by pulp fibroblasts and the subsequent release of C5a specifically induced pulp progenitor cell recruitment. Our study reveals human pulp fibroblasts as the first nonimmune cell type capable of synthesizing all complement proteins. These fibroblasts cells contribute significantly to tissue regeneration by recruiting pulp progenitors via complement activation, which suggests to a potential therapeutic strategy of targeting pulp fibroblasts in dentin–pulp regeneration.