Mechanoresponsive properties of the periodontal ligament

L. Huang, B. Liu, J. Y. Cha, G. Yuan, M. Kelly, G. Singh, S. Hyman, J. B. Brunski, J. Li, J. A. Helms

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28 Citations (Scopus)


The periodontal ligament (PDL) functions as an enthesis, a connective tissue attachment that dissipates strains created by mechanical loading. Entheses are mechanoresponsive structures that rapidly adapt to changes in their mechanical loading; here we asked which features of the PDL are sensitive to such in vivo loading. We evaluated the PDL in 4 physiologically relevant mechanical environments, focusing on mitotic activity, cell density, collagen content, osteogenic protein expression, and organization of the tissue. In addition to examining PDLs that supported teeth under masticatory loading and eruptive forces, 2 additional mechanical conditions were created and analyzed: hypoloading and experimental tooth movement. Collectively, these data revealed that the adult PDL is a remarkably quiescent tissue and that only when it is subjected to increased loads - such as those associated with mastication, eruption, and orthodontic tooth movement - does the tissue increase its rate of cell proliferation and collagen production. These data have relevance in clinical scenarios where PDL acclimatization can be exploited to optimize tooth movement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Dental Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China to L.H. (grant 81300914) and to J.T.L. (grant 81500829). We acknowledge the Stanford imaging facility and the assistance of L-M. Joubert. The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the authorship and/or publication of this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 International & American Associations for Dental Research.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Dentistry(all)


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