Micro-CT Analysis of Cranial Bone and Tooth Density in Mice Deficient for GDF11 or Myostatin

  • Suh, Joonho (Department of Molecular Genetics & Dental Pharmacology, School of Dentistry and Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University) ;
  • Kim, Na-Kyung (Department of Molecular Genetics & Dental Pharmacology, School of Dentistry and Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University) ;
  • Lee, Yun-Sil (Department of Molecular Genetics & Dental Pharmacology, School of Dentistry and Dental Research Institute, Seoul National University)
  • Received : 2020.10.18
  • Accepted : 2020.10.21
  • Published : 2020.12.30


Purpose: Growth differentiation factor 11 (GDF11) and myostatin (MSTN) are closely-related transforming growth factor β family members reported to play crucial roles in bone formation. We previously reported that, in contrast to MSTN, GDF11 promotes osteogenesis of vertebrae and limbs. GDF11 has been also reported as an important regulator in tooth development by inducing differentiation of pulp stem cells into odontoblasts for reparative dentin formation. The goal of this study was to investigate the differential roles of GDF11 and MSTN in dental and cranial bone formation. Methods: Micro-computed tomography analysis was performed on cranial bones, including frontal, parietal, and interparietal bones, and lower incisors of wild-type, Gdf11 knockout (Gdf11-/-), and Mstn knockout (Mstn-/-) mice. Tissue volume, thickness, and mineral density were evaluated for both cranial bone and lower incisors. Lower incisor lengths were also measured. Because Gdf11-/- mice die shortly after birth, analysis was performed on newborn (P0) mice. Results: Compared to those of Mstn-/- mice, cranial bone volume, thickness, and mineral density levels were all significantly diminished in Gdf11-/- mice. Tissue mineral density of Gdf11-/- mice were also significantly decreased compared to wild-type mice. Likewise, lower incisor length, tissue volume, thickness, and mineral density levels were all significantly reduced in Gdf11-/- mice compared to Mstn-/- mice. Incisor length was also significantly decreased in Gdf11-/- mice compared to wild-type mice. Mstn-/- mice exhibited mildly increased levels of tissue volume, thickness, and density in cranial bone and lower incisor compared to wild-type mice although statistically not significant. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that GDF11, unlike MSTN, endogenously promotes cranial bone and tooth development.


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