Luukko,K., Moshnyakov,M., Sainio,K., Saarma,M., Sariola,H., and, Thesleff,I.
Expression of neurotrophin receptors during rat tooth development is developmentally regulated, independent of innervation, and suggests functions in the regulation of morphogenesis and innervation.
Developmental Dynamics 206:87-99 (1996).
Low-affinity neurotrophin receptor (LANR) and trk receptor tyrosine kinases (trks) serve as low- and high-affinity receptors for neurotrophins. Besides promoting the development and maintenance of the mammalian nervous system, it has been suggested that neurotrophins may have broader functions in the development of non-neuronal tissues. To evaluate the possible roles of neurotrophic factors in tooth development, we performed a detailed examination of the expression patterns of neurotrophin receptors during development of the rat tooth from initiation to completion of crown morphogenesis. mRNA expression was studied by in situ hybridisation and LANR protein was localised by immunohistochemistry. Furthermore, dissected tooth germs were cultured in vitro to examined the role of trigeminal innervation in the expression of neurotrophin receptors. mRNAs for LANR, trkB, and trkC, but not trkA, were detected in developing teeth. LANR and the truncated form of trkB, which lacks the intracellular tyrosine kinase domain, were expressed throughout tooth morphogenesis and their expression patterns were largely non-overlapping and changed spatio-temporally. trkC was expressed after birth, and it was restricted to dental papilla mesenchyme. The expression of all receptors correlated with the development of innervation, but, in addition, the expression of LANR and trkB appeared to be associated with cell differentiation and epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. The patterns of LANR, trkB, and trkC in teeth which underwent morphogenesis in organ culture were similar to those in vivo, which indicates that the expression of these neurotrophin receptors is not regulated by and does not depend on trigeminal innervation. The data suggest that neurotrophin receptors have roles in the development of tooth innervation, but that they also have non-neuronal, organogenetic functions.

Last edited 10.12.2004 by P.N.