OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to evaluate the involvement of endoplasmic reticulum stress and intracellular calcium overload on the development of dental fluorosis.
METHODS: We cultured and exposed rat ameloblast HAT-7 cells to various concentrations of fluoride and measured apoptosis with flow cytometry and intracellular Ca2+ changes using confocal microscopy, investigated the protein levels of GRP78, calreticulin, XBP1 and CHOP by western blotting, and their transcriptional levels with RT-PCR. We also created an in vivo model of dental fluorosis by exposing animals to various concentrations of fluoride. Subsequently, thin dental tissue slices were analyzed with H&E staining, immunohistochemical staining, and transmission electron microscopy, TUNEL assay was also performed on dental tissue slices for assessment of apoptosis.
RESULT: High fluoride concentration was associated with decreased ameloblast proliferation, elevated ameloblast apoptosis, and increased intracellular Ca2+ in vitro. The translation and transcription of the proteins associated with endoplasmic reticulum stress were significantly elevated with high concentrations of fluoride. Based on immunohistochemical staining, these proteins were also highly expressed in animals exposed to high fluoride concentrations. Histologically, we found significant fluorosis-like changes in tissues from animals exposed to high fluoride concentrations. Transmission electron microscopy cytology indicated significant apoptotic changes in tissues exposed to high concentrations of fluoride.
CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that exposure to high levels of fluoride led to endoplasmic reticulum stress which induced apoptosis in cultured ameloblasts and in vivo rat model, suggesting an important role of calcium overload and endoplasmic reticulum stress triggered by high concentrations of fluoride in the development of dental fluorosis.