Partanen,A.M., Ekblom,P., and, Thesleff,I.
Epidermal growth factor inhibits morphogenesis and cell differentiation in cultured mouse embryonic teeth.
Developmental Biology 111(1):84-94 (1985).
Although local epithelial-mesenchymal tissue interactions which are presumably mediated by extracellular matrix molecules are important regulators of tooth morphogenesis and differentiation, our studies have indicated that these developmental processes also depend on circulating molecules. The iron-carrying serum protein transferrin is necessary for the early morphogenesis of mouse tooth in organ culture (A-M. Partanen, I. Thesleff, and P. Ekblom, 1984, Differentiation 27, 59-66). In the present study we have examined the effects of other growth factors on mouse tooth germs grown in a chemically defined medium containing transferrin. Fibroblast growth factor and platelet derived growth factor had no detectable effects but epidermal growth factor (EGF) inhibited dramatically the morphogenesis of teeth, and prevented odontoblast and ameloblast cell differentiation. EGF stimulated cell proliferation in the explants measured as [3H]thymidine incorporation in DNA. However, when the distribution of dividing cells was visualized in autoradiographs, it was observed that cell proliferation was stimulated in the dental epithelium but was inhibited in the dental mesenchyme. The inhibition of cell proliferation in the dental mesenchyme apparently caused the inhibition of morphogenesis. We do not know whether the dental epithelium or mesenchyme was the primary target for the action of EGF in the inhibition of morphogenesis. It is, however, apparent that the response of the dental mesenchymal cells to EGF (inhibition of proliferation) is regulated by their local environment, since EGF enhanced proliferation when these cells were disaggregated and cultured as monolayers. This indicates that the organ culture system where the various embryonic cell lineages are maintained in their original environment corresponds better to the in vivo situation when the roles of exogenous growth factors during development are examined.

Last edited 10.12.2004 by P.N.