Vitamin D and tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase in dental cells

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Dental epithelium comprises different cell populations, including ameloblasts and stratum intermedium cells. Ameloblasts are vitamin D targets, and at least five proteins undergo specific modulation of their expression following the addition of 1α,25(OH)2 vitamin D3[1α,25(OH)2D3]. Stratum intermedium cells have not been studied in any great detail regarding vitamin D impact. Interestingly, in these cells, the tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP) is overexpressed. On the other hand, TNAP is a reliable bone marker of vitamin D action, similar to calbindins in kidney and intestine, previously used for studies of vitamin D activity in ameloblasts. Here, TNAP expression and activity were investigated in vivo in the microdissected epithelium and mesenchyme of mandible incisors. Physiological doses of 1α,25(OH)2D3 injected in control rats failed to modify TNAP activity in both dental epithelium and mesenchyme. No significant differences were observed in the steady-state levels of TNAP mRNAs of dental tissues from wild-type and vitamin D nuclear receptor (VDRnuc)-deficient mice of the same litters. These data suggest that, in contrast to ameloblasts, stratum intermedium cells are not sensitive to 1α,25(OH)2D3. An explanation for such a responsiveness of stratum intermedium cells to 1α,25(OH)2D3 is proposed based on the respective expressions of both vitamin D receptors (VDRnuc and 1,25D3-[MARRS]) and the Dlx2 homeobox gene.

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