, Volume 277, Issue 1, pp 19-26

Odontoclastic resorption of the superficial nonmineralized layer of predentine in the shedding of human deciduous teeth

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Resorption by odontoclasts of a superficial nonmineralized layer of predentine that occurs in prior to the shedding of human deciduous teeth was studied by light and electron microscopy. As resorption of the tooth roots neared completion, multinucleate cells appeared on the predentine surface of the coronal dentine between the degenerated odontoblasts, excavated characteristic resorption lacunae in the nonmineralized predentine. These multinucleate cells had the same ultrastructural characteristics as odontoclasts and histochemical demonstration of tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase activity in the multinucleate cells revealed intense staining in numerous small granules identified as lysosomes. Occasionally, the multinucleate cells simultaneously resorbed both nonmineralized and calcospherite-mineralized matrix in the predentine. The study demonstrates that multinucleate odontoclasts can resorb nonmineralized predentine matrix in vivo, probably in the same way as they resorb demineralized organic matrix in the resorption zone underlying their ruffled border.