Aberrantly elevated Wnt signaling is responsible for cementum overgrowth and dental ankylosis

Yan Wu, Xue Yuan, Kristy C. Perez, Sydnee Hyman, Liao Wang, Gretel Pellegrini, Benjamin Salmon, Teresita Bellido, Jill A. Helms

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Vertebrate teeth are attached to the jawbones using a variety of methods but in mammals, a fibrous connection is the norm. This fibrous periodontal ligament (PDL) allows teeth to move in the jawbones in response to natural eruptive forces, mastication, and orthodontic tooth movement. In some disease states the PDL either calcifies or is replaced by a mineralized tissue and the result is ankylosis, where the tooth is fused to the alveolar bone. To understand how the PDL maintains this fibrous state, we examined a strain of mice in which tooth movement is arrested. Daβcat Ot mice express a stabilized form of β-catenin in DMP1-positive alveolar bone osteocytes and cementocytes, which results in elevated Wnt signaling throughout the periodontium. As a consequence, there is an accrual of massive amounts of cellular cementum and alveolar bone, the PDL itself calcifies and teeth become ankylosed. These data suggest that to maintain its fibrous nature, Wnt signaling must normally be repressed in the PDL space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)176-183
Number of pages8
StatePublished - May 2019



  • Ankylosis
  • Cementum
  • Dental
  • Periodontium
  • Tooth eruption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Histology

Cite this

Wu, Y., Yuan, X., Perez, K. C., Hyman, S., Wang, L., Pellegrini, G., Salmon, B., Bellido, T., & Helms, J. A. (2019). Aberrantly elevated Wnt signaling is responsible for cementum overgrowth and dental ankylosis. Bone, 122, 176-183. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bone.2018.10.023