Circadian incremental lines are universally found in the dentin of animals. They are believed to be caused by functional changes in odontoblasts over 24 hrs. However, the mechanism of rhythmic dentin formation has not yet been elucidated. In the present study, we investigated whether there is a 24-hour rhythm in the collagen-synthetic and secretory activities of odontoblasts by radioautography with 3H-proline as a tracer. Six different groups of rats were injected with 3H-proline at 0000, 0400, 0800, 1200, 1600, or 2000 after the animals had become acclimated to a 12/12-hour light-dark illumination cycle for 2 wks. One hour after the injection, the maxillary incisors were removed and processed for radioautographic study. The silver grains of 3H-proline were most intense over odontoblasts and predentin during the environmental light period, while the nadir occurred during the dark period. The peak value was approximately two-fold higher than the minimum value. Moreover, in the dentin from rats that had been infused with 3H-proline continuously for 10 days by means of osmotic minipumps, silver grains of 3H-proline were heavily distributed over the dark hematoxylin-stained incremental lines. Thus, we demonstrated that odontoblasts show circadian rhythm with regard to collagen synthesis and secretion. These rhythms in odontoblastic function may be responsible for circadian incremental lines in dentin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas