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Anatomy Research International
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 782571, 13 pages
Research Article

Imaging an Adapted Dentoalveolar Complex

1Division of Orthodontics, Department of Orofacial Sciences, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA
2Division of Biomaterials and Bioengineering, Department of Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA

Received 7 June 2011; Accepted 19 August 2011

Academic Editor: Nadir Gülekon

Copyright © 2012 Ralf-Peter Herber et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adaptation of a rat dentoalveolar complex was illustrated using various imaging modalities. Micro-X-ray computed tomography for 3D modeling, combined with complementary techniques, including image processing, scanning electron microscopy, fluorochrome labeling, conventional histology (H&E, TRAP), and immunohistochemistry (RANKL, OPN) elucidated the dynamic nature of bone, the periodontal ligament-space, and cementum in the rat periodontium. Tomography and electron microscopy illustrated structural adaptation of calcified tissues at a higher resolution. Ongoing biomineralization was analyzed using fluorochrome labeling, and by evaluating attenuation profiles using virtual sections from 3D tomographies. Osteoclastic distribution as a function of anatomical location was illustrated by combining histology, immunohistochemistry, and tomography. While tomography and SEM provided past resorption-related events, future adaptive changes were deduced by identifying matrix biomolecules using immunohistochemistry. Thus, a dynamic picture of the dentoalveolar complex in rats was illustrated.