• dental lamina;
  • epithelial pearls;
  • odontogenesis;
  • three-dimensional reconstruction

Štembírek J, Buchtová M, Král T, Matalová E, Lozanoff S, Míšek I. Early morphogenesis of heterodont dentition in minipigs. Eur J Oral Sci 2010; 118: 547–558. © 2010 Eur J Oral Sci

The minipig provides an excellent experimental model for tooth morphogenesis because its diphyodont and heterodont dentition resemble that of humans. However, little information is available on the processes of tooth development in the pig. The purpose of this study was to classify the early stages of odontogenesis in minipigs from the initiation of deciduous dentition to the late bell stage when the successional dental lamina begins to develop. To analyze the initiation of teeth anlagens and the structural changes of dental lamina, a three-dimensional (3D) analysis was performed. At the earliest stage, 3D reconstruction revealed a continuous dental lamina along the length of the jaw. Later, the dental lamina exhibited remarkable differences in depth, and the interdental lamina was shorter. The dental lamina grew into the mesenchyme in the lingual direction, and its inclined growth was underlined by asymmetrical cell proliferation. After the primary tooth germ reached the late bell stage, the dental lamina began to disintegrate and fragmentize. Some cells disappeared during the process of lamina degradation, while others remained in small islands known as epithelial pearls. The minipig can therefore, inter alia, be used as a model organism to study the fate of epithelial pearls from their initiation to their contribution to pathological structures, primarily because of the clinical significance of these epithelial rests.