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Microsc Res Tech. 2002 Dec 1;59(5):396-407.

Mineralization patterns in elasmobranch fish.

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Department of Anatomy, School of Dentistry at Niigata, The Nippon Dental University, Niigata 951-8580, Japan.


This article reviews current findings on the organic matrix and the mineralization patterns in elasmobranchs, including an analysis of the role of the dental epithelial cells and the odontoblasts during odontogenesis. Our electron micrographs demonstrated that tubular vesicles limited by a unit membrane occupied the bulk of the elasmobranch enameloid matrix during the stage of enameloid matrix formation. It is likely that the tubular vesicles originated from the odontoblast processes. Two types of electron-dense fibrils, with cross-striations at intervals of approximately either 17 nm or 55 nm, respectively, were detected in the enameloid matrix. These data suggest that odontoblasts were strongly involved in enameloid matrix formation and in initial enameloid mineralization. Two types of odontoblasts, dark and light cells, were recognized during the stage of dentinogenesis. The light cells contained numerous mitochondria, intermediate filaments, and microtubules that extended their processes into the dentin. The dark cells possessed a well-developed Golgi apparatus and many cisternae in the rough endoplasmic reticulum, which suggests that the dark cells are involved in the formation of dentin. The inner dental epithelial (IDE) cells exhibited a well-developed Golgi apparatus, many mitochondria, cisternae of smooth endoplasmic reticulum, vesicles, vacuoles, and granules during the mineralization and maturation stages. During the stages of mineralization and early maturation, ACPase-positive granules were visible in the IDE cells and ALPase and Ca-ATPase activities were found at the lateral and proximal cell membrane of the IDE cells, suggesting that the IDE cells are involved in the removal of enameloid organic matrix and in the process of mineralization during later stages of enameloid formation. Our data indicate that elasmobranch enameloid is distinct from teleost enameloid, based on its organic content, on the mechanisms of its mineralization, and on the role of IDE cells concerning enameloid formation.

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