Tight junctions (TJs) function primarily as a barrier against paracellular transport between epithelial cells and are composed mainly of occludin (OLD) and claudins (CLDs). The CLD family consists of 24 members that show tissue- or cell-specific expression. Ameloblasts, which originate from the oral epithelium, form enamel, and enamel proteins and minerals are transported across the ameloblastic layer during amelogenesis. We immunohistochemically examined the distribution patterns of TJs in ameloblasts by observing the expression patterns of OLD and CLDs (CLD-1 to CLD-10). Secretory ameloblasts contained OLD and CLD-1, -8, and -9 at the distal end of the cell. In mature ameloblasts, OLD and CLD-1, -6, -7, -8, -9, and -10 were present mainly at both the distal and proximal ends of the cell, regardless of whether the ameloblasts were ruffle-ended or smooth-ended. Mature ameloblasts in which only the proximal ends were stained for OLD and CLDs were also found. These results indicate that the expression patterns of CLDs and the distribution patterns of TJs change drastically between the secretory and mature ameloblast stages, suggesting that these patterns reflect the different functions of these cells, specifically in the transport of proteins and ions for enamel formation.
- Tight junction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Molecular Biology