Continuous growth of rodents incisors

Continuous growth of rodents incisors

Teeth are an excellent example of optimally designed nanoarchitectures with precisely constructed components consisting of simple compounds. Materials properties of functional composites are generally regulated on the nanoscale, which makes their characterization particularly demanding. Using advanced analytical and imaging transmission electron microscopy techniques we identified innovative microstructural adjustments combined with astonishing compositional adaptations in incisors of coypu. Unique constituents, recognized as an additional amorphous Fe-rich surface layer (Fe-SL) followed by a transition zone covering pigmented enamel (Fe-EN), provide the required structural stability to withstand repeated mechanical load. The chemically diverse Fe-rich surface layer, including ferrihydrite and iron-calcium phosphates, gives the typical orange-brown coloration to the incisors. Within the spaces between elongated hydroxyapatite crystals in the pigmented enamel only ferrihydrite was found, implying that enamel pigmentation is a very strictly controlled process. Most significantly, an unprecedentedly high amount of Mg was measured in the amorphous flake-like material within the dentinal tubules (DT) of the incisors, suggesting the presence of a (Mg,Ca) phosphate phase. This unusually high influx of Mg into the dentin of incisors, but not molars, suggests a substantial functionality of Mg in the initial formation stages and constant growth of incisors. Our present results emphasize the strong mutual correlation among the microstructure, chemical composition and mechanical properties of teeth and offer a completely new perspective regarding the growth of mineralized dental tissues.

Appearances in the media:

Kanal A: Svet (SLO)
27. 12. 2016
Nutrije prispevale k velikemu uspehu znanstvenikov (Nutrias contributed to great scientific success)

POP TV: 24 ur (SLO)
27. 12. 2016
Mednarodni uspeh: uspešno raziskovanje nutrijinih sekalcev (Nutrias incisors contributed to international research success)

Delo (science section) (SLO)
19.1.2017 (Download pdf)
Zobje glodalcev v pomoč pri razvoju implantatov? (Rodent teeth helping to develop implants?)

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