In vivo expression of RANKL in the rat dental follicle as determined by laser capture microdissection

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Tooth eruption is a localized event in which many of the genes required for eruption are expressed in the dental follicle. A major function of the follicle is to recruit mononuclear cells for osteoclastogenesis such that the alveolar bone can be resorbed. Osteoclastogenesis is primarily regulated by receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B ligand (RANKL), colony-stimulating factor-one (CSF-1) and osteoprotegerin (OPG). In the rat first mandibular molar, osteoclastogenesis is maximal at day 3 and CSF-1 is maximally expressed in the follicle at this time whereas OPG expression is reduced. Whether or not RANKL is expressed in vivo in the follicle is controversial, however. It is critical to determine this because others have shown that in partially-rescued mice null for RANKL, teeth do not erupt. This suggests that RANKL should be expressed in the follicle for eruption to occur. Thus, to precisely determine if RANKL is expressed in the follicle in vivo, laser capture microdissection (LCM) was used to excise dental follicle tissue from frozen sections followed by RNA isolation and RT-PCR. The results show that RANKL is expressed in the dental follicle at days 1-9 postnatally. The technique was confirmed by controls showing that LCM isolates of the follicle, and alveolar bone, express OPG. Also, LCM isolates of alveolar bone were positive for RANKL. Thus, RANKL has now been shown to be expressed in the follicle and it is probable that interactions between it, CSF-1 and OPG regulate locally the osteoclastogenesis needed for tooth eruption.

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Archives of oral biology

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