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Development. 2002 Mar;129(6):1533-41.

FGF10 maintains stem cell compartment in developing mouse incisors.

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Second Department of Oral Anatomy and Cell Biology, Kyushu Dental College, 2-6-1, Manazuru, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu, 803-8580, Japan.


Mouse incisors are regenerative tissues that grow continuously throughout life. The renewal of dental epithelium-producing enamel matrix and/or induction of dentin formation by mesenchymal cells is performed by stem cells that reside in cervical loop of the incisor apex. However, little is known about the mechanisms of stem cell compartment formation. Recently, a mouse incisor was used as a model to show that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 10 regulates mitogenesis and fate decision of adult stem cells. To further illustrate the role of FGF10 in the formation of the stem cell compartment during tooth organogenesis, we have analyzed incisor development in Fgf10-deficient mice and have examined the effects of neutralizing anti-FGF10 antibody on the developing incisors in organ cultures. The incisor germs of FGF10-null mice proceeded to cap stage normally. However, at a later stage, the cervical loop was not formed. We found that the absence of the cervical loop was due to a divergence in Fgf10 and Fgf3 expression patterns at E16. Furthermore, we estimated the growth of dental epithelium from incisor explants of FGF10-null mice by organ culture. The dental epithelium of FGF10-null mice showed limited growth, although the epithelium of wild-type mice appeared to grow normally. In other experiments, a functional disorder of FGF10, caused by a neutralizing anti-FGF10 antibody, induced apoptosis in the cervical loop of developing mouse incisor cultures. However, recombinant human FGF10 protein rescued the cervical loop from apoptosis. Taken together, these results suggest that FGF10 is a survival factor that maintains the stem cell population in developing incisor germs.

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