The influence of fluoride on the cellular morphology and synthetic activity of the rat dentine-pulp complex in vitro

Ryan Moseley, Alastair Sloan, RJ Waddington, Anthony Smith, RC Hall, G Embery

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17 Citations (Scopus)


Exposure to high fluoride concentrations in the immediate environment of the tissue is recognized to result in the post-translational modification of non-collagenous dentine extracellular matrix (ECM) components, potentially altering dentine mineralization. However, less is known about the effects of fluoride exposure on the morphology or metabolism of the cells associated with the dentine-pulp complex. This study examined the effects of fluoride exposure at defined concentrations on the cellular morphology and ECM synthetic activities of odontoblasts and pulpal fibroblasts by the culture of tooth sections from male Wistar rat incisors in Trowel-type cultures for up to 14 days, in the presence and absence of 6mM sodium fluoride. Histomorphometric analysis of the dentine-pulp complex of sodium fluoride-exposed tooth sections demonstrated no obvious gross morphological differences with respect to the odontoblasts and pulpal fibroblasts throughout the 14-day culture period, in comparison with unexposed tooth sections. No significant differences in odontoblast and pulpal fibroblast cell numbers were determined in the absence and presence of fluoride. Image analysis examination of odontoblast cytoplasmic:nuclear (C/N) ratios also showed no significant differences in fluoride-exposed and unexposed tooth sections, although reductions in the C/N ratios of pulpal fibroblasts were evident in fluoride-exposed sections at days 10 and 14. No significant differences in predentine width were observed in fluoride-exposed and unexposed tooth sections over the 14-day culture period. Autoradiography following [3H]proline incorporation into the dentine-pulp complex demonstrated inhibition of collagen synthesis, particularly by the odontoblasts in tooth sections exposed to 6mM sodium fluoride. These findings, in association with those from previous studies, imply that dentine ECM alterations may contribute to the altered mineralization of dentine during fluorosis, rather than secretory-related changes in odontoblast morphology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-46
Number of pages8
JournalArchives of Oral Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003


  • odontoblasts
  • fluoride
  • pupal fibroblasts
  • collagen
  • dental pulp
  • dentine


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