Objective: Odontogenesis in voles is a convenient model to test hypotheses on tooth development generated from investigations in the mouse. Similar to other rodents, the functional dentition of the vole includes a toothless diastema. At its mesial end, a vestigial tooth bud has been found in the upper jaw of vole embryos. The aim of this study was to analyse the developmental dynamics of vestigial tooth structures in the upper diastema of the field vole and to compare it with the situation in the mouse.
Design: The development of odontogenic structures in the upper diastema of the field vole was investigated using serial histological sections and three-dimensional (3D) computer-aided reconstruction.
Results: A transient continuous dental lamina in the upper diastema of the field vole extended mesially to the first molar primordium, but was not continuous with the dental lamina in the incisor region. At its mesial limit, a large vestigial tooth primordium was regularly present. A further distinct vestigial bud was located mesially to the first molar primordium. The segmentation of the dental lamina suggested a potential to give rise to further vestiges in the upper diastema of the vole.
Conclusions: In the prospective diastema of the vole exists as in the mouse a continuous dental lamina. Beside the prominent vestigial tooth bud in the mesial diastema, a further large bud was transiently located in front of the molars. The incorporation of dental epithelium into the first upper molar (M(1)) primordium in the vole differs from that in the mouse.