Introduction This study determined the gene expression profiles of the human coronal pulp (CP) and apical pulp complex (APC) with the aim of explaining differences in their functions. Methods Total RNA was isolated from the CP and APC, and gene expression was analyzed using complementary DNA microarray technology. Gene ontology analysis was used to classify the biological function. Quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical staining were performed to verify microarray data. Results In the microarray analyses, expression increases of at least 2-fold were present in 125 genes in the APC and 139 genes in the CP out of a total of 33,297 genes. Gene ontology class processes found more genes related to immune responses, cell growth and maintenance, and cell adhesion in the APC, whereas transport and neurogenesis genes predominated in the CP. Quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemical staining confirmed the microarray results, with DMP1, CALB1, and GABRB1 strongly expressed in the CP, whereas SMOC2, SHH, BARX1, CX3CR1, SPP1, COL XII, and LAMC2 were strongly expressed in the APC. Conclusions The expression levels of genes related to dentin mineralization, neurogenesis, and neurotransmission are higher in the CP in human immature teeth, whereas those of immune-related and tooth development-related genes are higher in the APC.
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