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Arch Histol Cytol. 2000 Mar;63(1):43-54.

Effects of different types of injury to the inferior alveolar nerve on the behavior of Schwann cells during the regeneration of periodontal nerve fibers of rat incisor.

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  • 1Department of Oral Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Osaka University Faculty of Dentistry, Suita, Japan.


The present study reports on different regeneration patterns of axons and Schwann cells in the periodontal ligament of the rat incisor using immunohistochemistry of protein gene product 9.5 (PGP 9.5) and S-100 protein. Three kinds of injury (transection, crush and segmental resection) were applied to the inferior alveolar nerve. In normal animals, PGP 9.5- and S-100-immunoreactivities were detected in the axons and Schwann cell elements of periodontal Ruffini endings, respectively. They were restricted to the alveolus-related part, occurring only rarely in the tooth-related part and in the shear zone (the border between the alveolus-related and tooth-related parts). Both transection and segmental resection caused the complete disappearance of PGP 9.5-immunoreactive nerve fibers in the periodontal ligament, while a small number of them could be found following the crush injury. Regenerating PGP 9.5-reactive nerve fibers appeared at 5 days and 21 days following the transection and segmental resection, respectively. The regeneration of periodontal nerve fibers completed in a period of 21-28 days and 14-21 days following the transection and crush, respectively, but was not completed even at 56 days following the segmental resection. The behavior of Schwann cells during regeneration was similar after the different nerve injuries; spindle-shaped S-100-immunoreactive cells, presumably Schwann cells, appeared in the shear zone and the tooth-related part. These cells disappeared 5-7 days prior to the completion of the regeneration of axonal elements of the periodontal ligament following the transection and crush. Following the segmental resection, in contrast, spindle-shaped S-100-positive cells disappeared from the tooth-related part at 42 days, although the axonal regeneration of periodontal Ruffini endings proceeded even until 56 days. We thus conclude that the duration of the migration of Schwann cells depends on the state of the regeneration of axons.

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