Collagen fibrils in the odontoblast layer of the rat incisor by scanning electron microscopy using the maceration method

Shoji Tabata, Tsuguhiro Nakayama, Kimitake Funakoshi, Kinya Yasui, Kaoru Wada, Masanori Uemura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is not universal agreement on the existence of the extracellular pathway from the pulp along the odontoblast layer to the predentin. Method: To confirm this pathway, the architecture of collagen fibrils in the rat incisor dentin and pulp, especially in the odontoblast layer of the lateral (periodontal ligament) sides of the tooth, was demonstrated in the present investigation using scanning electron microscopy of the maceration method for collagen networks. Results: Numerous collagen bundles were observed in the odontoblast layer in the mature odontoblast region which, except for the young odontoblast region, comprises the major portion of the incisor. The collagen bundles went from the pulp, through the odontoblast layer, and were woven into the collagen network of the predentin. The meshwork structure was composed of fine secondary fibrils among these collagen bundles. The surface of the predentin contained many oval‐shaped holes which were surrounded by collagen fibrils. Fracturing the dentin longitudinally relative to the dentinal tubules revealed that the arrangement of the collagen fibrils at the surface of the tubules was either circular or oblique. In the young odontoblast region, i.e., the thin portion from the apical end of the incisor where the mineralization of the dentin does not occur and where the height of the odontoblasts was less than 30 μm, many thick bundles composed of thick collagen fibrils ran straight from the pulp to the predentin through the odontoblast layer and fanned out into the collagen network of the predentin. These thick bundles might correspond to the so‐called “von Korff fibers.” The distribution of collagen fibrils in the pulp was random except on the surface of the blood vessels where the fibrils comprised two sheets of collagen: the inner sheet which coursed longitudinally to the long axis of the vessel, and the outer sheet which ran transversely. Conclusion: It was considered that the fluid in the pulp could flow to the predentin along the collagen fibrils through the tight junction between the odontoblasts. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-370
Number of pages11
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anatomy
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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