Synchrotron X-ray fluorescence mapping of Ca, Sr and Zn at the neonatal line in human deciduous teeth reflects changing perinatal physiology.


Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK; Department of Earth Sciences, Centre for Human Evolution Research, Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 5BD, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


OBJECTIVE : Our first objective was to review the evidence describing the appearance and microstructure of the neonatal line in human deciduous teeth and to link this with known changes in neonatal physiology occurring at and around birth. A second objective was to explore ways to improve identification of the neonatal line by mapping the pre- and postnatal distribution of Ca, Sr and Zn in deciduous cuspal enamel and superimposing these maps onto transmitted light micrographs that included a clear true section of the neonatal line.
METHODS : We used synchrotron X-ray fluorescence to map elemental distributions in pre- and postnatal enamel and dentine. Two deciduous canines and 5 deciduous molars were scanned with an X-ray beam monochromatised to 17.0 keV at either 10.0, 2.5 or 1.0 μm resolution and 10 ms integration time.
RESULTS : Calcium maps distinguished enamel and dentine but did not clearly demarcate tissues formed pre- or postnatally. Strontium maps reflected presumed pre- and postnatal maternal serum levels and what are likely to be diet-dependent regions of Sr enrichment or depletion. Prenatal Zn maps, particularly for dentine, mirror elevated levels in the fetus and in colostrum during the first few days of life.
CONCLUSIONS : The neonatal line, enamel dentine junction and surface enamel were all Zn-rich. Within the neonatal line Zn may be associated with increased crystallinity but also with caries resistance, both of which have been reported previously. Elemental mapping may improve the identification of ambiguous NNLs and so be useful in forensic and archaeological studies.


Deciduous teeth,Neonatal line,Prenatal dentine,Prenatal enamel,SXRF,

OUR Recent Articles