Odontoblast phosphate and calcium transport in dentinogenesis

Sammanfattning: It has been suggested that odontoblasts are instrumental in translocating Ca2+ and inorganic phosphate (Pi) ions during the mineralization of dentin. The aim of this thesis was, therefore, to study the expression of components of the transcellular ion transport system, Na+/Ca2+ exchangers and Na+-Pi cotransporters, in odontoblastic and osteoblastic cells. Their activity was assayed in osteoblast-like cells and in the recently developed MRPC-1 odontoblast-like cell line. To assess the relationship between ion transport and mineralization, Ca2+ and Pi uptake activities were determined in mineralizing cultures of MRPC-1 cells. Osteoblastic and odontoblastic cells showed an identical expression pattern of Na+/Ca2+ exchanger splice-variants, NCX1.3, NCX1.7 and NCX1.10, derived from the NCX1 gene, while NCX2 was not expressed. The cells showed a high sodium-dependent calcium extrusion activity. Regarding Na+-Pi cotransporter expression, Glvr-1, Ram-1 and the two high capacity cotransporters Npt-2a and Npt-2b were found to be expressed in odontoblasts and MRPC-1 cells. Osteoblast-like cells differed from this in expressing the Npt-1 but not the Ram-1 gene but were otherwise identical to the odontoblastic cells. Odontoblast-like cells exhibited almost twice the sodium-dependent Pi uptake activity of osteoblast-like cells. The presence of NaPi-2a and NaPi-2b, gene products of Npt-2a and Npt-2b, was verified in vivo by immunohistochemistry on mouse teeth. Both cotransporters could be detected in fully differentiated, polarized odontoblasts but not in preodontoblasts prior to dentin formation. Both cotransporters were detected in adjacent bone and in ameloblasts. Studying ion uptake in mineralizing MRPC-1 cultures, large changes were detected concomitant with the onset of mineral formation, when phosphate uptake increased by 400% while calcium uptake started to decline. The increase in Pi uptake was found to be due to activation of the NaPi-2a cotransporter. MRPC-1 cells expressed an odontoblast-like phenotype already at the onset of culture, but in order to form mineral a differentiation involving their ion transporters seems necessary. Calculating the theoretical rate of ion transport needed for dentin formation and comparing with data from the studies in this thesis showed that transcellular ion transport is both possible and sufficient to meet the phosphate and calcium demands of dentinogenesis.

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