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To determine whether the calcium-sensing receptor (CaR) participates in tooth formation and dental alveolar bone development in mandibles in vivo, we examined these processes, as well as mineralization, in 2-week-old CaR-knockout (CaR−/−) mice. We also attempted to rescue the phenotype of CaR−/− mice by genetic means, in mice doubly homozygous for CaR and 25-hydroxyvitamin D 1α-hydroxylase [1α(OH)ase] or parathyroid hormone (Pth). In CaR−/− mice, which exhibited hypercalcemia, hypophosphatemia and increased serum PTH, the volumes of teeth and of dental alveolar bone were decreased dramatically, whereas the ratio of the area of predentin to total dentin and the number and surface of osteoblasts in dental alveolar bone were increased significantly, as compared with wild-type littermates. The normocalcemia present in CaR−/−;1α(OH)ase−/− mice only slightly improved the defects in dental and alveolar bone formation observed in the hypercalcemic CaR−/− mice. However, these defects were completely rescued by the additional elimination of hypophosphatemia and by an increase in parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP) expression in the apical pulp, Hertwig's epithelial root sheath and mandibular tissue in CaR−/−; Pth−/− mice. Therefore, alterations in calcium, phosphorus and PTHrP contribute to defects in the formation of teeth and alveolar bone in CaR-deficient mice. This study indicates that CaR participates in the formation of teeth and in the development of dental alveolar bone in mandibles in vivo, although it appears to do so largely indirectly.

  • Accepted January 21, 2010.
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