The area of the oral vestibule is often a place where pathologies appear (e.g., peripheral odontomas). The origin of these pathologies is not fully understood. In the present study, we traced a cell population expressing Sonic hedgehog (Shh) from the beginning of tooth development using Cre-LoxP system in the lower jaw of wild-type (WT) mice. We focused on Shh expression in the area of the early appearing rudimentary incisor germs located anteriorly to the prospective incisors. The localization of the labelled cells in the incisor germs and also in the inner epithelial layer of the vestibular anlage showed that the first very early developmental events in the lower incisor area are common to the vestibulum oris and the prospective incisor primordia in mice. Scanning electron microscopic analysis of human historical tooth-like structures found in the vestibular area of jaws confirmed their relation to teeth and thus the capability of the vestibular tissue to form teeth. The location of labelled cells descendant of the early appearing Shh expression domain related to the rudimentary incisor anlage not only in the rudimentary and functional incisor germs but also in the externally located anlage of the oral vestibule documented the odontogenic potential of the vestibular epithelium. This potential can be awakened under pathological conditions and become a source of pathologies in the vestibular area.
Hovorakova, M., Lochovska, K., Zahradnicek, O., Tibenska, K. D., Dornhoferova, M., Horakova-Smrckova, L., & Bodorikova, S. (2016). One odontogenic cell-population contributes to the development of the mouse incisors and of the oral vestibule. PLoS ONE, 11(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0162523