Nasal capsular cartilage is required for rat transpalatal suture morphogenesis.
OBJECTIVES It is hypothesized that regulation of facial suture morphogenesis is similar to that of cranial sutures, with expression of similar regulatory molecules, governing suture formation and patency. The present study was designed to characterize the morphology of the frontonasal (FN) suture of the rat at different developmental stages and to investigate the presence and temporal-spatial expression of transforming growth factor-beta 1 (Tgf-beta1), Tgf-beta2, Tgf-beta3 and Msx2 mRNA within these structures. SETTING AND SAMPLE POPULATION The Department of Biomedical Sciences at Texas A&M University System Health Science Center, Baylor College of Dentistry, Dallas, TX USA. Histological sections and RNA isolated from FN suture tissues of Sprague-Dawley rats, aged embryonic day 16 through postnatal day 20. METHOD Sections were examined after immunohistochemical staining. Gene expression was determined by densitometric analysis of RT-PCR products run on agarose gels. RESULTS FN sutures develop slightly later than cranial sutures and show increased complexity over time when compared to cranial sutures. FN sutures were closely associated with the nasal capsular cartilage, with intervening layers of perichondrium and periosteum. The pattern of expression of Tgf-betas within the FN suture tissues was similar to that seen in the cranial sutures. However, mRNA and protein of the Tgf-betas were differentially expressed over time compared to cranial sutures. In FN sutures, Tgf-beta mRNA levels were elevated both during the period of suture morphogenesis and during active bone growth from the suture in the early postnatal period. Msx2 mRNA expression was elevated in both the prenatal and postnatal periods, similar to Tgf-beta mRNA expression. CONCLUSION Tgf-beta and Msx2 are present in facial sutures similar to cranial sutures, but are differentially expressed over time, perhaps reflecting different bone growth rates from these sutures.