Tooth eruption is characterized by a coordinated complex cascade of cellular and molecular events that promote tooth movement through the eruptive pathway. During tooth eruption, the stratum intermedium structurally changes to the papillary layer with tooth organ development. We previously reported intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) expression on the papillary layer, which is the origin of the ICAM-1-positive junctional epithelium. ICAM-1 expression is induced by proinflammatory cytokines, including interleukin-1 and tumor necrosis factor. Inflammatory reactions induce tissue degradation. Therefore, this study aimed to examine whether inflammatory reactions are involved in tooth eruption. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis revealed sequential expression of hypoxia-induced factor-1α, interleukin-1β, and chemotactic factors, including keratinocyte-derived chemokine (KC) and macrophage inflammatory protein-2 (MIP-2), during tooth eruption. Consistent with the RT-PCR results, immunohistochemical analysis revealed KC and MIP-2 expression in the papillary layer cells of the enamel organ from the ameloblast maturation stage. Moreover, there was massive macrophage and neutrophil infiltration in the connective tissue between the tooth organ and oral epithelium during tooth eruption. These findings suggest that inflammatory reactions might be involved in the degradation of tissue overlying the tooth organ. Further, these reactions might be induced by hypoxia in the tissue overlying the tooth organ, which results from decreased capillaries in the tissue. Our findings indicate that bacterial infections are not associated with the eruption process. Therefore, tooth eruption might be regulated by innate inflammatory mechanisms.
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