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Am J Anat. 1981 Feb;160(2):213-29.

A fine-structural survey of the pulpal innervation in the rat mandibular incisor.


The innervation of the rat incisor pulp has been studied using transmission electron microscopy and light microscopy. Transverse sections of mandibular incisor pulp (380-460 gm rats) from numerous positions in the long axis of the tooth were examined systematically in the electron microscopy. Quantitative data on total axon populations were obtained. The nerve fibers were found to pass through the lingual half of the pulp from the apical end to within 2 mm of the incisal tip. Although the nerve fibers were seen to lie amongst the connective tissue cells between the blood vessels, the electron microscopic observations showed that the blood vessels are not innervated. Throughout their pulpal course the nerve fibers showed no trace of perineurial investment. Virtually all the axons were unmyelinated. Total numbers of axons were small (233-328) and peak diameters of 0.3-0.4 microM confirmed the observed immature appearance of the nerve supply. Obvious nerve endings were seldom observed and the axons showed no structural association with odontoblasts. The evidence indicates that, although most axons terminate near the incisal end of the tooth, no specific structure is supplied. The qualitative features of the axons do not suggest autonomic function; however, they are consistent with a sensory role.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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