Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) regulates a variety of cellular responses that are dependent on the developmental stage and on the origins of the cell or the tissue. In mature tissues, and especially in tissues of epithelial origin, TGF-β1 is generally considered to be a growth inhibitor that may also promote apoptosis. The ameloblast cells of the enamel organ epithelium are adjacent to and responsible for the developing enamel layer on unerupted teeth. Once the enamel layer reaches its full thickness, the tall columnar secretory-stage ameloblasts shorten, and a portion of these maturation-stage ameloblasts become apoptotic. Here we investigate whether TGF-β1 plays a role in apoptosis of the maturation-stage ameloblasts. We demonstrate in vitro that ameloblast lineage cells are highly susceptible to TGF-β1-mediated growth arrest and are prone to TGF-β1-mediated cell death/apoptosis. We also demonstrate in vivo that TGF-β1 is expressed in the maturation-stage enamel organ at significantly higher levels than in the earlier secretory-stage enamel organ. This increased expression of TGF-β1 correlates with an increase in expression of the enamel organ immediate-early stress-response gene and with a decrease in the anti-apoptotic Bcl2 : Bax expression ratio. We conclude that TGF-β1 may play an important role in ameloblast apoptosis during the maturation stage of enamel development.
- ALC cells
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