Journal of anatomy

The innervation of the zebrafish pharyngeal jaws and teeth.

PMID 26018453


Zebrafish (Danio rerio) teeth are increasingly used as a model to study odontogenesis in non-mammalians. Using serial semi-thin section histology and immunohistochemistry, the nerves innervating the pharyngeal jaws and teeth have been identified. The last pair of branchial arches, which are non-gill bearing but which carry the teeth, are innervated by an internal branch of a post-trematic ramus of the vagal nerve. Another, external, branch is probably responsible for the motor innervation of the branchiomeric musculature. Nerve fibres appear in the pulp cavity of the teeth only late during cytodifferentiation, and are therefore likely not involved in early steps of tooth formation. The precise role of the nervous system during continuous tooth replacement remains to be determined. Nonetheless, this study provides the necessary morphological background information to address this question.