Collagen degradation by host-derived enzymes during aging

D. H. Pashley, F. R. Tay, C. Yiu, M. Hashimoto, L. Breschi, R. M. Carvalho, S. Ito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

805 Scopus citations


Incompletely infiltrated collagen fibrils in acid-etched dentin are susceptible to degradation. We hypothesize that degradation can occur in the absence of bacteria. Partially demineralized collagen matrices (DCMs) prepared from human dentin were stored in artificial saliva. Control specimens were stored in artificial saliva containing proteolytic enzyme inhibitors, or pure mineral oil. We retrieved them at 24 hrs, 90 and 250 days to examine the extent of degradation of DCM. In the 24-hour experimental and 90- and 250-day control specimens, we observed 5- to 6-μm-thick layers of DCM containing banded collagen fibrils. DCMs were almost completely destroyed in the 250-day experimental specimens, but not when incubated with enzyme inhibitors or mineral oil. Functional enzyme analysis of dentin powder revealed low levels of collagenolytic activity that was inhibited by protease inhibitors or 0.2% chlorhexidine. We hypothesize that collagen degradation occurred over time, via host-derived matrix metalloproteinases that are released slowly over time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-221
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Dentin matrix
  • Gelatinase
  • Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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