The periodontal ligament (PDL) is a tendon/ligament-like fibrous tissue that connects the tooth root surface and the alveolar bone. General interest has been expressed in PDL development as a model for connective tissue formation because of its ability to adapt to mechanical loading. PDL cell has its origin in the dental follicle (DF) cell, and it begins to differentiate during tooth root development. During apical development of the tooth root, PDL progenitors in DF differentiate into PDL cells to form the PDL; however, the molecular mechanisms of PDL development have not yet been clarified, as PDL lineage-specific markers are not available. We recently established a transcriptome database for the human PDL (KK-Periome database), and screened the genes specifically expressed during PDL development. Initial screening of the database allowed us to identify F-spondin and tenascin-N, which are restricted to DF and PDL cells, respectively. Thus, these could serve as PDL lineage-specific markers that would be useful for investigating the molecular mechanisms of PDL development.
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