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J Oral Pathol Med. 2004 Mar;33(3):185-90.

Expression of Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling molecules in ameloblastomas.

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  • 1Division of Oral Pathology, Department of Oral Medicine and Surgery, Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry, Sendai, Japan.



To clarify the roles of Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signal transduction in oncogenesis and cytodifferentiation of odontogenic tumors, expression of SHH, Patched (PTC), Smoothened (SMO), and GLI1 was analyzed in ameloblastomas as well as in tooth germs.


Tissue specimens of 9 tooth germs, 36 benign ameloblastomas, and 1 malignant ameloblastoma were examined by reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunohistochemistry for the expression of SHH, PTC, SMO, and GLI1.


Expression of SHH, PTC, SMO, and GLI1 mRNA was detected in all tooth germ and ameloblastoma samples. Immunohistochemical reactivity for SHH, PTC, SMO, and GLI1 was detected in both normal and neoplastic odontogenic tissues. Expression of SHH, PTC, and GLI1 was more evident in epithelial cells than in mesenchymal cells, whereas SMO reactivity was marked in both epithelial and mesenchymal components in tooth germs and ameloblastomas. In ameloblastomas, these SHH signaling molecules were expressed more intensely in peripheral columnar or cuboidal cells than in central polyhedral cells; keratinizing cells and granular cells showed no or little reactivity.


Expression of SHH, PTC, SMO, and GLI1 in tooth germs and ameloblastomas suggests that these SHH signaling molecules might play a role in epithelial-mesenchymal interactions and cell proliferation in tooth development as well as in growth of these epithelial odontogenic tumors.

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