Little is known about differential expression of extracellular matrices secreted by cementoblasts between cellular and acellular cementum. We hypothesize that cementoblasts lining acellular cementum express extracellular matrix genes differently from those lining cellular cementum, thereby forming two distinct types of extracellular matrices. To test this hypothesis, we investigated spatial and temporal gene expression of selected extracellular matrix molecules, that is type I collagen, bone sialoprotein, osteocalcin and osteopontin, during formation of both cellular and acellular cementum using in situ hybridization. In addition, their extracellularly deposited and accumulated proteins were examined immunohistochemically. The mRNA transcripts of pro-α1(I) collagen were primarily localized in cementoblasts of cellular cementum and cementocytes, while those of bone sialoprotein were predominantly seen in cementoblasts lining acellular cementum. In contrast, osteocalcin was expressed by both types of cementoblasts and cementocytes and so was osteopontin but only transiently. Our immunohistochemical examination revealed that translated proteins were localized extracellularly where the genes had been expressed intracellularly. The present study demonstrated the distinctive expression of genes and proteins of the extracellular matrix molecules between cellular and acellular cementum.
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