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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 3

of 'Anatomy and development of the teeth'

Lacruz RS, Habelitz S, Wright JT, Paine ML
Physiol Rev. 2017;97(3):939.
Dental enamel is the hardest and most mineralized tissue in extinct and extant vertebrate species and provides maximum durability that allows teeth to function as weapons and/or tools as well as for food processing. Enamel development and mineralization is an intricate process tightly regulated by cells of the enamel organ called ameloblasts. These heavily polarized cells form a monolayer around the developing enamel tissue and move as a single forming front in specified directions as they lay down a proteinaceous matrix that serves as a template for crystal growth. Ameloblasts maintain intercellular connections creating a semi-permeable barrier that at one end (basal/proximal) receives nutrients and ions from blood vessels, and at the opposite end (secretory/apical/distal) forms extracellular crystals within specified pH conditions. In this unique environment, ameloblasts orchestrate crystal growth via multiple cellular activities including modulating the transport of minerals and ions, pH regulation, proteolysis, and endocytosis. In manyvertebrates, the bulk of the enamel tissue volume is first formed and subsequently mineralized by these same cells as they retransform their morphology and function. Cell death by apoptosis and regression are the fates of many ameloblasts following enamel maturation, and what cells remain of the enamel organ are shed during tooth eruption, or are incorporated into the tooth's epithelial attachment to the oral gingiva. In this review, we examine key aspects of dental enamel formation, from its developmental genesis to the ever-increasing wealth of data on the mechanisms mediating ionic transport, as well as the clinical outcomes resulting from abnormal ameloblast function.
Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology, College of Dentistry, New York University, New York, New York; Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Department of Pediatric Dentistry, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, Center for Craniofacial Molecular Biology, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.