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J Cell Physiol. 2011 Jan;226(1):74-85. doi: 10.1002/jcp.22305.

Bone resorption control of tooth eruption and root morphogenesis: Involvement of the receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK).

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INSERM UMR 872, Cordeliers Research Center, Team 5, Laboratory of Oral Molecular Physiopathology, Paris, France.


Activation of the receptor activator of NF-κB (RANK) is a crucial step in osteoclastogenesis. Loss- and gain-of-function mutations in the Rank gene cause, respectively, osteopetrosis and several forms of extensive osteolysis. Tooth and alveolar bone alterations are associated with these pathologies but remain to be better characterized. The aim of the present study was to establish the tooth and alveolar bone phenotype of a transgenic mouse model of RANK over-expression in osteoclast precursors. Early tooth eruption and accelerated tooth root elongation were observed subsequent to an increase in osteoclast numbers surrounding the tooth. The final root length appeared not to be affected by RANK over-expression, but a significant reduction in root diameter occurred in both control and root-morphogenesis-defective Msx2 null mutant mice. These results indicate that root length is independent of the surrounding bone resorption activity. In contrast, root diameter is sensitive to the activity of alveolar bone osteoclasts. These data suggest that early eruption and thin root are phenotypic features that could be associated with extensive osteolytic pathologies.

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