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J Dent Res. 2007 Sep;86(9):908-11.

Peritubular dentin lacks piezoelectricity.

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Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143-0758, USA.


Dentin is a mesenchymal tissue, and, as such, is based on a collagenous matrix that is reinforced by apatite mineral. Collagen fibrils show piezoelectricity, a phenomenon that is used by piezoresponse force microscopy (PFM) to obtain high-resolution images. We applied PFM to image human dentin with 10-nm resolution, and to test the hypothesis that zones of piezoactivity, indicating the presence of collagen fibrils, can be distinguished in dentin. Piezoelectricity was observed by PFM in the dentin intertubular matrix, while the peritubular dentin remained without response. High-resolution imaging of chemically treated intertubular dentin attributed the piezoelectric effect to individual collagen fibrils that differed in the signal strength, depending on the fibril orientation. This study supports the hypothesis that peritubular dentin is a non-collagenous tissue and is thus an exception among mineralized tissues that derive from the mesenchyme.

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