SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract

Odontoblasts are cells with single cytoplasmic processes that grow longer as more dentin is elaborated. Ameloblasts also have single processes and it has been postulated that they too grow longer as more enamel is made. Support for this hypothesis was obtained using rat incisors to investigate the behavior of substances labeled with 3H-proline and 3H-fucose. A comparison was made between odontoblasts, which have processes known to grow and remain within the dentin, and the ameloblasts whose Tomes' processes are hypothesized to grow and leave remnants in the completed enamel. With 3H-proline, the odontoblast bodies are labeled at the early time intervals. They synthesize and secrete a layer of intensely labeled predentin, which by 1 and 2 days is converted to mineralized dentin. Matrix deposited after the main pulse is weakly labeled. Odontoblast processes are never labeled in dentin formed prior to injection. With 3H-fucose, the cell bodies are labeled at the early intervals and the newly formed glycoproteins are deposited into the predentin. Almost immediately, these are progressively added to the dentin at the calcification front. With time a gradient of labeling extends from the unlabeled dentin toward the odontoblast bodies. Unlike the behavior of labeled proteins, by 1 and 2 days labeled glycoproteins appear along the entire length of the odontoblast processes. In the enamel, no Tomes' processes are present during maturation. With 3H-proline, reactions are adjacent to the cells and diffuse toward, but do not reach the dentino-enamel junction by 1 and 2 days. With 3H-fucose, reactions appear over the enamel near the cells. By 1 and 2 days no diffusive pattern is seen, but grains are concentrated near the dentino-enamel junction, in a region containing holes known to be the beginning of Tomes' processes. Since odontoblast glycoproteins migrate along odontoblast processes, it was postulated that cytoplasmic remnants were present in enamel along which ameloblast glycoproteins could also migrate to reach the holes at the dentino-enamel junction.