European Archives of Paediatric Dentistry

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 51–55 | Cite as

In vitro toxicity of formocresol, ferric sulphate, and grey MTA on human periodontal ligament fibroblasts

  • S. N. Al-Haj AliEmail author
  • S. H. Al-Jundi
  • D. J. Ditto
Original Scientific Article



This was to assess and compare the in vitro toxicity of formocresol, ferric sulphate and MTA on cultured human periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts.

Study design

PDL cells were obtained from sound first permanent molars and cultured in Dulbecco’s modified Eagle’s medium.


PDL cells were subjected to different concentrations of formocresol, ferric sulphate, and grey MTA for 24, 48, and 72 h at 37 °C. Cells that were not exposed to the tested materials served as the negative control. In vitro toxicity was assessed using MTT assay.


Statistical analysis of data was accomplished using ANOVA and Tukey statistical tests (p < 0.05).


The overall toxicity ranking of the tested materials was as follows: formocresol > ferric sulphate > grey MTA. Only grey MTA had comparable cell viability to the negative control, the other tested materials were significantly inferior at the three exposure periods (p < 0.05).


Regarding the viability of PDL fibroblasts, MTA stands as the most promising substitute to formocresol. However, considering MTA’s unavailability and high price in Jordan, ferric sulphate may be the best alternative to formocresol in pulpotomy of primary teeth.


MTA Fibroblasts Ferric sulphate Formocresol 



The authors sincerely thank Professor Said Ismail and his team (Molecular Biology Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of Jordan) for their assistance.


  1. Al-Haj Ali SN, Al-Jundi SH, Ditto DJ. In-vitro toxicity of grey MTA in comparison to white MTA on human periodontal ligament fibroblasts. Eur Arch Paediatr Dent. 2014. doi: 10.1007/s40368-014-0134-z.Google Scholar
  2. Al-Hiyasat AS, Darmani H, Milhem MM. Cytotoxicity evaluation of dental resin composites and their flowable derivatives. Clin Oral Investig. 2005;9(1):21–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Amaral M, Gomes PS, Lopes MA, et al. Cytotoxicity evaluation of nanocrystalline diamond coatings by fibroblast cell cultures. Acta Biomater. 2009;5(2):755–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Camilleri J. A review of the methods used to study biocompatibility of portland cement-derived materials used in dentistry. MMJ. 2006;18(3):9–13.Google Scholar
  5. Camilleri J, Pitt Ford TR. Mineral trioxide aggregate: a review of the constituents and biological properties of the material. Int Endod J. 2006;39(10):747–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Casas MJK, Juddy PL, Johnston DH. Do we still need formocresol in paediatric dentistry? J Can Dent Assoc. 2005;71:749–51.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Cotes O, Boj JR, Canalda C, Carreras M. Pulpal tissue reaction to formocresol vs. ferric sulphate in pulpotomised rat teeth. J Clin Pediatr Dent. 1997;21(3):247–53.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. De Menezes JV, Takamori ER, Bijella MF, Granjeiro JM. In vitro toxicity of MTA compared with other primary teeth pulpotomy agents. J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2009;33(3):217–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Fallahinejad Ghajari MM, Vatanpour M, Kharrazi Fard MJ. Comparison of pulpotomy with formocresol and MTA in primary molars: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Int Endod J. 2008;3(3):45–9.Google Scholar
  10. Fuks AB. Vital pulp therapy with new materials for primary teeth: new directions and treatment perspectives. Pediatr Dent. 2008;30(3):211–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Hanks CT, Wataha JC, Sun Z. In vitro models of biocompatibility: a review. Dent Mater. 1996;12(3):186–93.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hill SD, Berry CW, Seale NS, Kaga M. Comparison of antimicrobial and cytotoxic effects of glutaraldehyde and formocresol. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol. 1991;71(1):89–95.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Ibricevic H, Al-Jame Q. Ferric sulphate as pulpotomy agent in primary teeth: twenty month clinical follow-up. J Clin Pediatr Dent. 2000;24(4):269–72.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Issa Y, Watts DC, Brunton PA, Waters CM, Duxbury AJ. Resin composite monomers alter MTT and LDH activity of human gingival fibroblasts in vitro. Dent Mater. 2004;20(1):12–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Jafarnia B, Jiang J, He J, et al. Evaluation of cytotoxicity of MTA employing various additives. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 2009;107(5):739–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McDonald RE, Avery, Dean JA. Dentistry for the child and adolescent. 9th ed. New York: Mosby; 2011. p. 350–65.Google Scholar
  17. Noorollahian H. Comparison of mineral trioxide aggregate and formocresol as pulp medicaments for pulpotomies in primary molars. Br Dent J. 2008;204(11):E20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Osorio RM, Hefti A, Vertucci FJ, Shawley AL. Cytotoxicity of endodontic materials. J Endod. 1998;24(2):91–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Pinkham JR, Casamassimo PS, McTigue DJ, et al. Pediatric dentistry: infancy through adolescence. 4th ed. St-Louis: Elsevier Saunders; 2005. p. 384–91.Google Scholar
  20. Roberts HW, Toth JM, Berzins DW, Charlton DG. Mineral trioxide aggregate material use in endodontic treatment: a review of the literature. Dent Mater. 2008;24(2):149–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Sjogren G, Sletten G, Dahl JE. Cytotoxicity of dental alloys, metals, and ceramics assessed by millipore filter, agar overlay, and MTT tests. J Prosthet Dent. 2000;84(2):229–36.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Souza NJ, Justo GZ, Oliveira CR, Haun M, Bincoletto C. Cytotoxicity of materials used in perforation repair tested using the V79 fibroblast cell line and the granulocyte-macrophage progenitor cells. Int Endod J. 2006;39(1):40–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Takita T, Hayashi M, Takeichi O, et al. Effect of mineral trioxide aggregate on proliferation of cultured human dental pulp cells. Int Endod J. 2006;39(5):415–22.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Tipton DA, Lyle B, Babich H, Dabbous M. In vitro cytotoxic and anti-inflammatory effects of myrrh oil on human gingival fibroblasts and epithelial cells. Toxicol In Vitro. 2003; 17(3):301–10.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Van Wyk CWo, Olivier A, Maritz JS. Cultured pulp fibroblasts: are they suitable for in vitro cytotoxicity testing? J Oral Pathol Med. 2001;30(3):168–77.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© European Academy of Paediatric Dentistry 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. N. Al-Haj Ali
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. H. Al-Jundi
    • 2
  • D. J. Ditto
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Orthodontics and Paediatric Dentistry, Faculty of DentistryQassim UniversityQassimKingdom of Saudi Arabia
  2. 2.Preventive Dentistry DepartmentJordan University of Science and TechnologyIrbidJordan

Personalised recommendations