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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of dexamethasone on tooth eruption in rats: differences in incisor and molar eruption.

A requirement for tooth eruption is the resorption of alveolar bone. Because bone resorption is stimulated by dexamethasone both in vivo and in vitro, dexamethasone 21-phosphate, a soluble form of dexamethasone, was injected into rats to determine its effect on tooth eruption. Such dexamethasone injections accelerate the time of intra-osseous eruption in rat incisors but do not accelerate the eruption time of rat molars when injected into rats. The injections of dexamethasone 21-phosphate also accelerate the time of eyelid opening in the postnatal rats, as well as retarding growth, as measured by body weight. These effects of dexamethasone 21-phosphate parallel the effects of epidermal growth factor injections, including the absence of an effect on molar eruption. This suggests that the molecular signals for the initiation of tooth eruption (i.e., onset of bone resorption) differ between rat incisors and molars. Given that rat incisors are teeth of continuous eruption whereas rat molars are teeth of limited eruption, as are human teeth, care must be taken in extrapolating results derived from rat incisors to human dentition. In vitro, dexamethasone has no effect on the gene expression of either osteoprotegerin or epidermal growth factor in dental follicle cells derived from molars. Because osteoprotegerin expression during normal tooth eruption is transitorily inhibited early postnatally in the molar dental follicle to allow osteoclast formation, the absence of inhibition of its expression by dexamethasone could explain why dexamethasone does not accelerate eruption in molars.[1]


  1. Effects of dexamethasone on tooth eruption in rats: differences in incisor and molar eruption. Wise, G.E., Grier, R.L., Lumpkin, S.J., Zhang, Q. Clinical anatomy (New York, N.Y.) (2001) [Pubmed]
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