Confocal microscopy of Tomes' granular layer in dog premolar teeth

M. Kagayama, Y. Sasano, M. Tsuchiya, M. Watanabe, I. Mizoguchi, S. Kamakura, K. Motegi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Tomes' granular layer is the hypomineralized area of radicular dentin, but knowledge concerning it is limited. The present study was designed to investigate the structural characteristics of Tomes' granular layer in the dog's teeth by confocal microscopy. Permanent premolars of four beagles, two at 7 months and the other two at 14 months of age, were used for observation. During premolar root formation, the 7-month-old dogs were injected with calcien and alizarin red S for vital staining of dentin, and ground sections of the teeth were prepared. Both ground and decalcified-paraffin sections were made from the teeth of the 14-month-old dogs and stained with basic fuchsin or with hematoxylin and eosin. All sections were examined by fluorescence and confocal microscopy. In the ground sections, granules of Tomes' layer and dentinal tubules were stained with basic fuchsin and with calcein. The granules of Tomes' layer stained with calcein were seen only near the labeling lines by calcein. The granules of Tomes' layer appeared as bright spots in cross sections, and as lines in longitudinal sections. When the sections were cut tangentially through the surface of dentin, the granules of Tomes' layer showed a reticular structure. Most of the dentinal tubules were seen to pass between the granules and terminated in the dentin-cementum junction. Looped tubules were not found in this area. In the paraffin sections stained with hematoxylin and eosin, extracellular matrix of dentin showed fluorescence of various intensities and dentinal tubules appeared dark. At the surface of the radicular dentin, the granules of Tomes' layer appeared as fluorescent fibers running parallel to the surface of dentin in the longitudinal sections. The fibers appeared as bright spots in the cross sections and as a mesh in the tangential sections. In the periodontal ligament, collagen fibers showed intense fluorescence, whereas most cells were negative. From these results we conclude that Tomes' granular layer of dog's teeth may be the collagen fiber bundles that remained uncalcified or hypocalcified within the radicular dentin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-137
Number of pages7
JournalAnatomy and Embryology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000


  • Basic fuchsin
  • Calcein and alizarin red S
  • Confocal microscopy
  • Dog's teeth
  • Eosin fluorescence
  • Tomes' granular layer


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