Scanning Microscopy


Micro-PIXE (proton-induced X-ray emission) analysis was performed on unfixed and anhydrously prepared sections from developing enamel and dentin from hamsters injected with a single dose of 20 mg NaF /kg body weight. Fluoride, apart from inducing the formation of the characteristic paired response in the enamel (i.e., a hyper- followed by a hypomineralized band in the secretory enamel), also induces the formation of sub-ameloblastic cystic lesions under the transitional and early secretory enamel accompanied by relatively intense hypermineralization of the underlying cystic enamel surface. These cystic lesions, however, were only found to be associated with certain isolated populations of these cells. In addition, these lesions were restricted to the smooth surfaces of the tooth germ only. Cystic lesions such as those seen under the transitional and early secretory ameloblasts were not observed under the fully secretory or maturation stage ameloblasts.

Why fluoride induces the formation of cystic lesions in some ameloblast populations while other cells in the same stage of development apparently remain unaffected, is a matter which needs further investigation.

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