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Eur J Oral Sci. 2013 Dec;121(6):509-16. doi: 10.1111/eos.12095. Epub 2013 Oct 23.

Expression of the stem cell marker, SOX2, in ameloblastoma and dental epithelium.

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Developmental Biology Program, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.


Ameloblastomas are locally invasive odontogenic tumors that exhibit a high rate of recurrence and often associate with the third molars. They are suggested to originate from dental epithelium because the tumor cells resemble epithelial cells of developing teeth. Expression of the transcription factor SOX2 has been previously localized in epithelial stem and progenitor cells in developing teeth as well as in various tumors. Here, we show that SOX2 is expressed in the epithelial cells of follicular and plexiform ameloblastomas. SOX2 was localized in the dental lamina of developing human primary molars. It was also expressed in the fragmented dental lamina associated with the third molars and in the epithelium budding from its posterior aspect in mice. However, no SOX2 expression was detected in either Hertwig's epithelial root sheath directing the formation of roots or in the epithelial cell rests of Malassez covering the completed roots. SOX2 was associated with supernumerary tooth formation in odontoma-like tumors induced by Wnt signal activation in mice. We propose that SOX2 functions in maintaining the progenitor state of epithelium in ameloblastomas and that ameloblastomas may originate from SOX2-expressing dental lamina epithelium.


Wnt signaling pathway; ameloblastoma; odontogenesis; odontogenic tumors; tumorigenesis

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