Peritubular dentin (PTD) is a hypermineralized phase within the dentinal tubules in some vertebrate teeth as an interface between the intertubular dentin (ITD) and the cell processes. Our aim has been to understand the composition, structure and role of PTD as a mineralized tissue. We have utilized the technique of time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (TOF-SIMS) to map the distribution of positive and negative inorganic ions as well as organic components in the fully mineralized, intact PTD structure in bovine tooth cross-sections, and correlated these with scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in standard and backscatter modes. In recent work, we developed a procedure to freeze fracture the teeth and separate PTD from the less dense ITD by the use of aqueous sodium phosphotungstate step density gradients, after degrading the ITD collagen with NaOCl. Here, PTD-containing fragments were characterized by SEM and TOF-SIMS surface structure analysis. The TOF-SIMS data show that the isolated PTD does not contain collagen, but its surface is rich in glutamic acid-containing protein(s). The TOF-SIMS spectra also indicated that the intact PTD fragments contain phospholipids, and chemical analyses showed phosphatidylserine, phosphatidylinositol and phosphatidylcholine as the principal lipid components. In SEM sections, untreated PTD shows as a smooth collar around the tubule, but after digestion with ethylenediamine to remove all organic components, the porous nature of the mineral phase of small, thin platy apatite crystals becomes evident. Thus, the organic matrix of PTD appears to be a proteolipid-phospholipid complex.
- Amino acids
- Matrix proteins
- Peritubular dentin
- Time of flight mass spectrometry
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