Dynamic analysis of the expression of the TGFβ/SMAD2 pathway and CCN2/CTGF during early steps of tooth development

Marcos S. Pacheco, Alice H. Reis, Diego P. Aguiar, Karen M. Lyons, José G. Abreu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: CCN2 is present during tooth development. However, the relationship between CCN2 and the transforming growth factor β (TGFβ)/SMAD2/3 signaling cascade during early stages of tooth development is unclear. Here, we compare the expression of CCN2 and TGFβ/SMAD2/3 components during tooth development, and analyze the functioning of TGFβ/SMAD2/3 in wild-type (WT) and Ccn2 null (Ccn2-/-) mice. Methods: Coronal sections of mice on embryonic day (E)11.5, E12.5, E13.5, E14.5 and E18.5 from WT and Ccn2-/- were immunoreacted to detect CCN2 and components of the TGFβ signaling pathway and assayed for 5′-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine immunolabeling and proliferating cell nuclear antigen immunostaining. Results: CCN2 and TGFβ signaling components such as TGFβ1, TGFβ receptor II, SMADs2/3 and SMAD4 were expressed in inducer tissues during early stages of tooth development. Proliferation analysis in these areas showed that epithelial cells proliferate less than mesenchymal cells from E11.5 to E13.5, while at E14.5 they proliferate more than mesenchymal cells. We did not find a correlation between functioning of the TGFβ1 cascade and CCN2 expression because Ccn2-/- mice showed neither a reduction in SMAD2 phosphorylation nor a difference in cell proliferation. Conclusion: CCN2 and the TGFβ/SMAD2/3 signaling pathway are active in signaling centers of tooth development where proliferation is dynamic, but these mechanisms may act independently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-210
Number of pages12
JournalCells Tissues Organs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Ccn2 null mouse
  • Epithelium-mesenchyme interaction
  • Growth factor
  • Odontogenesis
  • TGFβ/SMAD2


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