We investigated the immunohistochemical localization of tenascin-C in 8-week-old rat periodontal ligaments. Tenascin-C immunoreactivity was detected in zones along with cementum and alveolar bone, and more intensely on the resorption surface of alveolar bone than on the formation surface. On the resorbing surface, tenascin-C immunoreactivity was detected in Howship's lacunae without osteoclasts, and in the interfibrous space of the periodontal ligaments, indicating that this molecule works as an adhesion molecule between bone and fibers of periodontal ligaments. Upon experimental tooth movement by inserting elastic bands (Waldo method), the physiological resorption surface of alveolar bone under compressive force showed enhanced bone resorption and enhanced tenascin-C immunoreactivity. However, on the physiological bone formation surface under compressive force, bone resorption was seen only occasionally, and no enhanced tenascin-C immunoreactivity was noted. In an experiment involving excessive occlusal loading to rat molars, transient bone resorption occurred within interradicular septa, but no enhanced tenascin-C immunoreactivity was seen in the periodontal ligaments. These results indicate that tenascin-C works effectively on the bone resorbing surface of physiological alveolar bone remodeling sites, rather than on the non-physiological transient bone resorbing surface. Fibronectin immunoreactivity was distributed evenly in the periodontal ligaments under experimental conditions. Co-localization of tenascin-C and fibronectin immunoreactivity was observed in many regions, but mutually exclusive expression patterns were also seen in some regions, indicating that fibronectin might not be directly involved in alveolar bone remodeling, but may play a role via interaction with tenascin-C.
Keywords: Alveolar bone; Bone remodeling; Immunohistochemistry; Periodontal ligament; Tenascin-C.