Temporospatial localization of acetylcholinesterase activity in the dental epithelium during mouse tooth development

Life Sci. 2007 Sep 22;81(15):1235-40. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2007.08.035. Epub 2007 Sep 14.


Acetylcholinesterase (AChE), a principal modulator of cholinergic neurotransmission, also has been demonstrated to be involved in the morphogenetic processes of neuronal and non-neuronal tissues. This study shows that AChE exhibits temporospatial activity in the dental epithelium of the developing mouse tooth. To identify the AChE activity in the mouse tooth during development, we performed enzyme histochemistry on the mouse embryos from embryonic day 13 (E13) to E18 and on the incisors and molars of the neonatal mouse at 10 days after birth (P10). In the developing molars of mouse embryos, AChE activity was not found in the dental epithelium at E13 (bud stage). AChE activity first appeared in the developing cervical loops of the enamel organ at E14 (cap stage), but was not found in the enamel knot. At E18 (bell stage), AChE activity was localized in the inner enamel epithelium except the cervical-loop area. In the incisors and molars of neonatal mice (P10), AChE activity was localized in the inner enamel epithelium of the cervical-loop and enamel-free area. Overall, AChE activity was localized in the differentiating dental epithelium while the activity of butyrylcholinesterse, another cholinesterase, was located primarily in the cells of the dental follicle. The results suggest that AChE may play a role in the histo- and cytodifferentiation of dental epithelium during tooth development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mandible* / embryology
  • Mandible* / enzymology
  • Mandible* / growth & development
  • Maxilla* / embryology
  • Maxilla* / enzymology
  • Maxilla* / growth & development
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mouth Mucosa* / embryology
  • Mouth Mucosa* / enzymology
  • Mouth Mucosa* / growth & development
  • Odontogenesis*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Tooth Germ* / embryology
  • Tooth Germ* / enzymology
  • Tooth Germ* / growth & development


  • Acetylcholinesterase