Developmental movements of the inner enamel epithelium as derived from micromorphological features

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Abstract

It was the purpose of this article to analyze the (micro) morphological structure of enamel at different stages of development in order to deduce movement patterns of ameloblasts during formation of the human dental primordium. Developing enamel and overlying ameloblasts were dried and fractured for scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and sectioned for transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Specimens of human permanent enamel were either fractured and/or ground and etched to visualize the enamel rods. All specimens were viewed by SEM. Moreover, three-dimensional reconstructions were made from serial ground sections of enamel blocks to follow the enamel rods for a longer distance. In addition, the outline of the dentino–enamel junction was analyzed under the SEM after removal (using nitric acid) of the enamel cap, and in serial histological sections. Two basic movements of the inner enamel epithelium can be derived from the micromorphological features: (i) the scalloped dentino–enamel junction may be a consequence of a bulged inner enamel epithelium owing to initial spatial impediment; and (ii) the undulating path of the enamel rods may be a consequence of unequal growth of the cells in the cervical loop.

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