Abstract Odontoblasts are specialized cells that produce dentin and exhibit unique morphological characteristics; i.e., they extend cytoplasmic processes into dentinal tubules. While osteoblasts, which are typical hard-tissue-forming cells, are generated from mesenchymal stem cells during normal and pathological bone metabolism, the induction of odontoblasts only occurs once during tooth development, and odontoblasts survive throughout the lives of healthy teeth. During the differentiation of odontoblasts, signaling molecules from the inner enamel epithelium are considered necessary for the differentiation of odontoblast precursors, i.e., peripheral dental papilla cells. If odontoblasts are destroyed by severe external stimuli, such as deep caries, the differentiation of dental pulp stem cells into odontoblast-like cells is induced. Various bioactive molecules, such as non-collagenous proteins, might be involved in this process, although the precise mechanisms responsible for odontoblast differentiation have not been fully elucidated. Recently, our knowledge about the other functional activities of odontoblasts (apart from dentin formation) has increased. For example, it has been suggested that odontoblasts might act as nociceptive receptors, and surveillance cells that detect the invasion of exogenous pathogens. The regeneration of the dentin-pulp complex has recently gained much attention as a promising future treatment modality that could increase the longevity of pulpless teeth. Finally, congenital dentin anomalies, which are concerned with the disturbance of odontoblast functions, are summarized.
Abstract Roberts syndrome and SC phocomelia syndrome are rare autosomal recessive genetic disorders representing the extremes of the spectrum of severity of the same condition, caused by mutations in ESCO2 gene. We report three new patients with Roberts syndrome from three unrelated consanguineous Egyptian families. All patients presented with growth retardation, mesomelic shortening of the limbs more in the upper than in the lower limbs and microcephaly. Patients were subjected to clinical, cytogenetic and radiologic examinations. Cytogenetic analysis showed the characteristic premature separation of centromeres and puffing of heterochromatic regions. Further, sequencing of the ESCO2 gene identified a novel mutation c.244_245dupCT (p.T83Pfs*20) in one family besides two previously reported mutations c.760_761insA (p.T254Nfs*27) and c.764_765delTT (p.F255Cfs*25). All mutations were in homozygous state, in exon 3. The severity of the mesomelic shortening of the limbs and craniofacial anomalies showed variability among patients. Interestingly, patient 1 had abnormal skin hypopigmentation. Serial fetal ultrasound examinations and measurements of long bones diagnosed two affected fetuses in two of the studied families. A literature review and case comparison was performed. In conclusion, we report a novel ESCO2 mutation and expand the clinical spectrum of Roberts syndrome.
Abstract Prenatal ethanol exposure causes the reduction of serotonergic (5-HTergic) neurons in the midbrain raphe nuclei. In the present study, we examined whether an activation of signaling via 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors during the fetal period is able to prevent the reduction of 5-HTergic neurons induced by prenatal ethanol exposure. Pregnant Sprague–Dawley rats were given a liquid diet containing 2.5 to 5.0% (w/v) ethanol on gestational days (GDs) 10 to 20 (Et). As a pair-fed control, other pregnant rats were fed the same liquid diet except that the ethanol was replaced by isocaloric sucrose (Pf). Each Et and Pf group was subdivided into two groups; one of the groups was treated with 1 mg/kg (i.p.) of 1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4-iodophenyl)-2-aminopropane (DOI), an agonist for 5-HT2A/2C receptors, during GDs 13 to 19 (Et-DOI or Pf-DOI), and another was injected with saline vehicle only (Et-Sal or Pf-Sal). Their fetuses were removed by cesarean section on GD 19 or 20, and fetal brains were collected. An immunohistological examination of 5-HTergic neurons in the fetuses on embryonic day 20 using an antibody against tryptophan hydroxylase revealed that the number of 5-HTergic neurons in the midbrain raphe nuclei was significantly reduced in the Et-Sal fetuses compared to that of the Pf-Sal and Pf-DOI fetuses, whereas there were no significant differences between Et-DOI and each Pf control. Thus, we concluded that the reduction of 5-HTergic neurons that resulted in prenatal ethanol exposure could be alleviated by the enhancement of signaling via 5-HT2A/2C receptors during the fetal period.
Abstract Homeobox genes play important roles in craniofacial morphogenesis. However, the characteristics of the transcription factor Hoxc during palate formation remain unclear. We examined the immunolocalization patterns of Hoxc5, Hoxc4, and Hoxc6 in palatogenesis of cleft palate (Eh/Eh) mice. On the other hand, mutations in the FGF/FGFR pathway are exclusively associated with syndromic forms of cleft palate. We also examined the immunolocalization of Fgfr1 and Erk1/2 to clarify their relationships with Hoxc in palatogenesis. Some palatal epithelial cells showed Hoxc5 labeling, while almost no labeling of mesenchymal cells was observed in +/+ mice. As palate formation progressed in +/+ mice, Hoxc5, Hoxc4, and Hoxc6 were observed in medial epithelial seam cells. Hoxc5 and Hoxc6 were detected in the oral epithelium. The palatal mesenchyme also showed intense staining for Fgfr1 and Erk1/2 with progression of palate formation. In contrast, the palatal shelves of Eh/Eh mice exhibited impaired horizontal growth and failed to fuse, resulting in a cleft. Hoxc5 was observed in a few epithelial cells and diffusely in the mesenchyme of Eh/Eh palatal shelves. No or little labeling of Fgfr1 and Erk1/2 was detected in the cleft palate of Eh/Eh mice. These findings suggest that Hoxc genes are involved in palatogenesis. Furthermore, there may be the differences in the localization pattern between Hoxc5, Hoxc4, and Hoxc6. Additionally, Hoxc distribution in palatal cells during palate development may be correlated with FGF signaling.
Abstract Growth-retarded mouse (grt/grt) is a spontaneous mutant that is known as an animal model for primary congenital hypothyroidism caused by resistance to TSH signaling. The regional pattern of cerebral cortical hypoplasia was characterized in grt/grt mice. Ex vivo computed tomography (CT)-based volumetry was examined in four regions of the cerebral cortex, i.e., prefrontal, frontal, parietal and occipito-temporal regions, which were demarcated by structural landmarks on coronal CT images. A region-specific reduced volume of the parietal cortical region covering most of the somatosensory cortex was noted in grt/grt mice rather than in both heterozygous (grt/+) and wild-type (+/+) mice. We concluded that the cortical hypoplasia in grt/grt was seen in identical cortical regions corresponding to human congenital hypothyroidism.
Abstract We report the case of an infant born after parvovirus B19-induced fetal hydrops, who presented at birth with bilateral abdominal wall laxity, which was more evident on the flanks. Imaging exams revealed congenital hypoplasia of oblique abdominal muscles not associated with other anatomical abnormalities except for small liver calcifications. We review the medical literature and identify similar cases associated with fetal ascites. We propose that isolated hypoplasia of abdominal wall muscles can be associated with fetal ascites from various causes, and represents a separate condition from prune belly syndrome.