OBJECTIVES: Cytotoxic methacrylate monomers have been identified in aqueous extracts of freshly cured compomers. Some of these compounds, including HEMA and TEGDMA, induce apoptosis and necrosis in vitro. The aim of the present study was to elucidate possible signaling pathways involved in apoptosis following exposure to HEMA or TEGDMA in a salivary gland cell line.
METHODS: The cells were exposed to various concentrations of HEMA or TEGDMA. ROS formation was determined by dichlorofluorescein assay. Phosphorylated MAP-kinases ERK1/2, p38 and JNK, as well as specific caspases were identified by Western blotting. Apoptosis was assayed by fluorescence microscopy.
RESULTS: HEMA or TEGDMA exposure resulted in ROS formation and concentration-dependent apoptosis as well as phosphorylation of ERK. Phosphorylation of JNK and p38 was induced by HEMA. Selective inhibitors of ERK and JNK modified the apoptotic response after HEMA and TEGDMA exposure, whereas p38 inhibition modified the apoptotic response only after HEMA exposure. Vitamin C reduced HEMA-induced apoptosis.
SIGNIFICANCE: ROS formation and differential MAP kinase activation appear to be involved in the apoptotic response following exposure to HEMA and TEGDMA.

Apoptosis induced by the monomers HEMA and TEGDMA involves formation of ROS and differential activation of the MAP-kinases p38, JNK and ERK.
Samuelsen JT, Dahl JE, Karlsson S, Morisbak E, Becher R.
Dent Mater. 2007 Jan; 23(1):34–9.