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Ann Anat. 2012 Sep;194(5):482-8. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2012.03.010. Epub 2012 May 18.

Development of the oxytalan fiber system in the rat molar periodontal ligament evaluated by light- and electron-microscopic analyses.

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Research Center of Electron Microscopy, School of Dental Medicine, Tsurumi University, Yokohama, Japan.


In the elastic fiber system of the periodontal ligaments only oxytalan fibers can be identified, whereas all three types of fibers, oxytalan, elaunin and elastic fibers, are present in the gingiva. However, little information is available concerning their organization in the developing periodontal ligament. In the present study, growth and distribution of the oxytalan fiber system were examined in the developing periodontal ligament of rat molars using the specific staining for oxytalan, elastic and collagen fibers, and electron-microscopic analyses. Oxytalan staining clearly confirmed the earliest oxytalan fibers in a bell-staged tooth germ at embryonic day 18, which were tiny violet-colored fibers in the dental follicle. Their cross images were made up of dot-like microfibrils of 10-15nm in diameter close to fibroblasts in the dental follicle of the rat molars aged 1 day. These microfibrils appeared to be linked to one another through delicate filaments in 3-nm-diameter. At the beginning of root formation, the cross figures of oxytalan fibers were found as dot-like structures around the root sheath as well as in areas very close to blood vessels. As development proceeded, longer oxytalan fibers were produced in the apico-occlusal direction along with blood vessels. In addition, the immunoreactive products to anti-amyloid β protein on the surface of blood vessels suggest that this molecule might be involved in the adhesion of oxytalan fibers to vascular basement membranes. Thus, the oxytalan fiber system might regulate periodontal ligament function through tensional variations registered on the walls of the vascular structures.

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