We recently reported the expression of podoplanin in the apical bud of adult mouse incisal tooth. This study was aimed to investigate the distribution of podoplanin-expressing cells in mouse tooth germs at several developing stages. At the bud stage podoplanin was expressed in oral mucous epithelia and in a tooth bud. At the cap stage podoplanin was expressed on inner and outer enamel epithelia but not in mesenchymal cells expressing the neural crest stem cell marker nestin. At the early bell stage nestin and podoplanin were expressed in cervical loop and odontoblasts. At the root formation stage both nestin and podoplanin were weakly expressed in odontoblasts generating radicular dentin. Podoplanin expression was also found in the Hertwig epithelial sheath. These results suggest that epithelial cells of developing tooth germ acquire the ability to express nestin, and that tooth germ epithelial cells maintain the ability to express podoplanin in oral mucous epithelia. The expression of podoplanin in odontoblasts was induced as tooth germ development advanced, but was suppressed with the completion of the primary dentin, suggesting that podoplanin may be involved in the cell growth of odontoblasts. Nestin may function as an intermediate filament that binds podoplanin in odontoblasts.
2010 By the Japan Society of Histochemistry and Cytochemistry