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Lab Invest. 1991 Dec;65(6):688-701.

Cytoskeletal gene expression in normal and neoplastic human odontogenic epithelia.

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Department of Pathology, University of Helsinki, Finland.


In situ and Northern hybridization was carried out to study cytokeratin (Ck) 1, 4, 8, 18, and 19 and vimentin (Vim) gene expression in 13- to 24-week-old human fetal tooth germs, including overlying oral epithelium and odontogenic tumors (N = 6) of epithelial (ameloblastoma) and epithelial-ectomesenchymal (ameloblastic fibroma) origin. The results were compared with immunocytochemistry using monoclonal antibodies. A relatively strong expression of simple epithelial Ck 19 mRNA, together with low, but significant expression of Ck 8 and 18 mRNAs, was demonstrated in all normal and neoplastic odontogenic epithelia studied. Transcripts for squamous differentiation marker, Ck 4, and for terminal differentiation marker, Ck 1, were detected suprabasally in the fetal oral epithelium, focally in the dental lamina but not in the enamel organ. Ck 4 mRNA was expressed variably in most odontogenic tumors studied, whereas Ck 1 mRNA was detected in one ameloblastoma only. Vim mRNA was not found in the fetal oral epithelia, dental lamina or the enamel organ, but a distinct immunoreactivity with monoclonal antibodies to Vim was seen in the stellate reticulum cells of the enamel organ. The epithelium of most ameloblastomas showed a focal Vim mRNA and polypeptide expression. In addition to Vim, the neoplastic ectomesenchymal cells of ameloblastic fibroma coexpressed low amounts of simple epithelial Cks 8, 18, and 19. The results indicate that the differentiation and cytoskeletal gene expression programs of odontogenic epithelia upon neoplastic transformation are not fully retained. Most ameloblastomas and ameloblastic fibromas show differentiation parameters reminiscent of dental lamina. Ameloblastomas seem to form a heterogenous group of tumors, which may originate from odontogenic epithelial cells at various differentiation levels. The origin of ameloblastic fibroma is more closely related to the tooth germ proper.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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