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Arch Histol Cytol. 1999 Dec;62(5):435-40.

Heterogeneous localizations of Trk B among individual periodontal Ruffini endings in the rat incisor.

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


The present immunocytochemical study examined the localization of Trk B, a high affinity neurotrophin receptor, in the neural elements of the periodontal ligament of the rat incisor. In light microscopy, the immunoreactivity was demonstrated in dendritic profiles in the alveolar half of the periodontal ligament. Their location and morphological features indicated that they were periodontal Ruffini endings. Occasional rounded cells associated with periodontal Ruffini endings, which had immunonegative kidney-shaped nuclei, were immunoreactive; these were judged to be terminal Schwann cells. Immunoelectron microscopy revealed the heterogeneous localization of Trk B among individual Ruffini endings. Some terminal Schwann cells contained immunoreactive products for Trk B in the cytoplasm, while others did not. Similarly, a part of the Schwann sheaths covering the axon terminals showed Trk B immunoreactivity. Most axon terminals associated with periodontal Ruffini endings were immunopositive for Trk B, though a few of them were immunonegative. The ordinary Schwann cells did not contain Trk B immunoreactive products. These findings imply that Trk B is required for the maintenance of periodontal Ruffini endings. The different expression pattern of Trk B suggests that neuronal and glial elements comprising individual periodontal Ruffini endings are subject to heterogeneous conditions with regard to the requirement of Trk B.

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