Formation of a successional dental lamina in the zebrafish (Danio rerio): support for a local control of replacement tooth initiation
Original Article | Published: 1 August 2006
Biology Department, Ghent University, Belgium
In order to test whether the formation of a replacement tooth bud in a continuously replacing dentition is linked to the functional state of the tooth predecessor, I examined the timing of development of replacement teeth with respect to their functional predecessors in the pharyngeal dentition of the zebrafish. Observations based on serial semithin sections of ten specimens, ranging in age from four week old juveniles to adults, indicate that (i) a replacement tooth germ develops at the distal end of an epithelial structure, called the successional dental lamina, budding off from the crypt epithelium surrounding the erupted part of a functional tooth; (ii) there appears to be a developmental link between the eruption of a tooth and the formation of a successional dental lamina and (iii) there can be a time difference between successional lamina formation and initiation of the new tooth germ, i.e., the successional dental lamina can remain quiescent for some time. The data suggest that the formation of a successional lamina and the differentiation of a replacement tooth germ from this lamina, are two distinct phases of a process and possibly under a different control. The strong spatio-temporal coincidence of eruption of a tooth and development of a successional dental lamina is seen as evidence for a local control over tooth replacement.