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    MicroRNA‑21 (miR‑21) is a small non‑coding RNA that is differentially expressed during tooth development, particularly during amelogenesis. Although orthodontic tooth movement and the innate immune response are impaired, miR‑21 knockout mice demonstrate no obvious skeletal phenotype. However, the consequence of miR‑21 knockout on tooth phenotype and corresponding alveolar bone is unknown. The current study utilized landmark‑based geometric morphometrics to identify anatomical dissimilarities of the three lower and upper molars, and the corresponding alveolar bone, in miR‑21 knockout and wild‑type control mice. The anatomical structures were visualized by microcomputer tomography. A total of 36 and 38 landmarks were placed on mandibular and maxillary molars, respectively. For the alveolar bone, 16 landmarks were selected on both anatomical sites. General Procrustes analysis revealed significantly smaller molars and dimensions of the alveolar bone in the mandible of the miR‑21 knockout mice when compared with wild‑type controls (P=0.03 and P=0.04, respectively). The overall dimension of the mandible was reduced by the lack of miR‑21 (P=0.02). In the maxilla, the dimension of the alveolar bone was significant (P=0.02); however, this was not observed in the molars (P=0.36). Based on principal component analysis, no changes in shape for any of the anatomical sites were observed. Dental and skeletal jaw length were calculated and no prognathism was identified. However, the fluctuating asymmetry of the molars in the mandible and the maxilla was reduced in the miR‑21 knockout mice by 38 and 27%, respectively. Taken together, the results of the present study revealed that the molars in the mandible and the dimension of the respective alveolar bone were smaller in miR‑21 mice compared with wild‑type littermates, suggesting that miR‑21 influences tooth development.


    Uwe Yacine Schwarze, Yuxin Ni, Yanmin Zhou, Lucia Terlecki-Ζaniewicz, Markus Schosserer, Matthias Hackl, Johannes Grillari, Reinhard Gruber. Size changes in miR‑21 knockout mice: Geometric morphometrics on teeth, alveolar bone and mandible. Molecular medicine reports. 2021 Apr;23(4)

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    PMID: 33604680

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