1999 Volume 61 Issue 3 Pages 227-232
The immunohistological distributions of fibronectin, tenascin, type I, III and IV collagens, and laminin were observed in the tooth buds of fetuses of minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata. Distributions of extracellular matrices (ECMs) examined in this study except for tenascin were generally similar to those of terrestrial mammalian species during development of the tooth bud. Tenascin in the fetuses of minke whale showed characteristic distributions in the dental lamina and the enamel organ in the early tooth developmental stage. In the physiological degeneration stage of tooth bud development, immunoreactivity of the ECMs were very weakly and limitedly detected in the dental papilla and the surrounding mesenchyme. Immunoreactivity of tenascin and type I and III collagens were positively detected in the developing baleen plate germ which was associated with the degenerating tooth bud. These findings suggested that expressions of the ECMs were related to the formation of the tooth bud and baleen plate germ, and that the lack of the ECMs was related to the degeneration of the tooth bud in the fetal minke whale.