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J Dent Res. 1995 May;74(5):1226-34.

Expression of basement membrane type IV collagen and type IV collagenases (MMP-2 and MMP-9) in human fetal teeth.

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Institute of Dentistry, University of Turku, Finland.


Formation and degradation of dental basement membrane (BM) are important for tooth development. Data on the expression of genes for type IV collagen (the major structural component of the BM) and type IV collagenases [MMP-2 (72 kDa) and MMP-9 (92 kDa)], enzymes that degrade type IV collagen during human tooth development, are lacking. We studied expression of type IV collagen and the MMP-2 and MMP-9 in human fetal teeth (from the 13th to the 20th gestational weeks, covering cap stage through early hard tissue formation). During cap and bell stages, in situ hybridization located transcripts for alpha 1 type IV collagen chain in the fibroblasts surrounding the enamel organ. No alpha 1 type IV collagen chain mRNA was detected in tooth germ epithelium or dental papilla. However, type IV collagen immunoreactivity was observed in BM underlying the dental epithelium up to the appositional stage. Transcripts for MMP-2 were located mostly in the cells of the dental papilla and follicle. Transient expression of MMP-2 mRNA was observed in the inner enamel epithelium of late cap/early bell-stage teeth. During early apposition, a high level of MMP-2 was confined to secretory odontoblasts. Transcripts for MMP-9 were detected by the sensitive reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) in developing teeth. Thus, in dental BM, alpha 1 type IV collagen chain may be of mesenchymal cell origin. Further, MMP-2 but not MMP-9 may participate in remodeling and degradation of BM during human tooth morphogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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