Background/purpose: Orthodontic tooth movement (OTM) is facilitated by two events; bone resorption on the compression side and bone formation on the tension side simultaneously termed bone remodeling. Osteocytes play a critical role in bone remodeling during OTM, as they have been described as the critical source of nuclear factor-κB ligand (RANKL) necessary for bone remodeling during OTM. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α is a cytokine that acts by amplifying RANKL expression in osteocytes. In this study, we evaluated the effects of TNF-α on RANKL expression in osteocyte during OTM. Materials and methods: We assessed whether TNF-α influenced RANKL expression in osteocyte during orthodontic tooth movement by using wild-type (WT) and TNF receptor I and II deficient (TNFRsKO) mice. A Nickel-titanium closed coil spring was attached to the maxillary alveolar bone near the incisors and the upper left first molar, and the first molars were moved mesially in WT and TNFRsKO mice. After OTM, the number of RANKL-positive osteocytes in the alveolar bone was evaluated by immunohistochemistry. Results: The number of RANKL-positive osteocyte in the alveolar bone significantly increased in WT mice than in TNFRsKO mice after OTM. Conclusion: The results indicate that TNF-α induces the expression of RANKL in osteocyte during OTM.
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