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Keywords:

  • ameloblast;
  • apoptosis;
  • caspase;
  • cell differentiation;
  • odontoblast

Apoptosis during tooth development appears dependent on the apoptotic executioner caspase-3, but not caspase-7. Instead, activated caspase-7 has been found in differentiated odontoblasts and ameloblasts, where it does not correlate with apoptosis. To further investigate these findings, the mouse incisor was used as a model. Analysis of caspase-7-deficient mice revealed a significant thinner layer of hard tissue in the adult incisor. Micro computed tomography scan confirmed this decrease in mineralized tissues. These data strongly suggest that caspase-7 might be directly involved in functional cell differentiation and regulation of the mineralization of dental matrices.