In the November 2011 issue of the Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) grantees for the first time systematically evaluated DSPP expression in a broad array of soft tissues in mice. They found that the protein is produced in the salivary glands, cartilage, liver, kidney, and brain. Interestingly, in all of these tissues, except the brain, the expression levels were higher than in bone, indicating important and unexplored functions in these tissues. Of note, the authors also found that DSPP is not expressed in the heart or spleen. "In conclusion, this study indicates that DSPP may serve multiple purposes in addition to its role in biomineralization," the authors summarized. "Further studies are needed to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which DSPP functions in nonmineralized tissues."
(Source: NIDCR, Science News in Brief, December 15, 2011)