Requirement of proper occlusal force for morphological maturation of neural components of periodontal Ruffini endings of the rat incisor
The present study examined the effect of reduced occlusal force on morphological maturation of periodontal Ruffini endings, primary mechanoreceptors in the periodontal ligament, of the rat incisor. The reduction of occlusal force was induced by grinding the cutting edges of unilateral incisors of the rat from postnatal day 14 (PN14d), when periodontal Ruffini endings are immature. Under normal development, the axon terminals of Ruffini endings gradually ramified with the passage of time, and showed ruffled outlines having numerous dot-like structures around PN28d. When the mechanical stimulation was reduced, appearance of dot-like structures at the axon terminals delayed. Quantitative analysis elucidated that the percentages of immunoreactive areas for protein gene product 9.5, a marker protein of neural elements, at ground side were significantly smaller than those at non-ground side 14 days following the initial grinding. The distribution and morphology of terminal Schwann cells was not apparently affected. The present results indicate that the proper mechanical stimulation to the ligament contributes to the morphological maturation of the periodontal Ruffini endings.
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