University of Oulu

Sex chromosomes in human tooth root growth : radiographic studies on 47,XYY males, 46,XY females, 47,XXY males and 45,X/46,XX females

Saved in:
Author: Lähdesmäki, Raija1,2
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Dentistry, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Oral Development and Orthodontics
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: 2006
Publish Date: 2006-09-07
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in Auditorium 1 of the Institute of Dentistry, on September 16th, 2006, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Timo Peltomäki
Professor Janna Waltimo-Sirén


Studies on families and individuals with sex chromosome abnormalities and 46,XY females, together with molecular research, have provided proof that both X and Y chromosome genes are expressed in human tooth crown growth. The Y chromosome promotes the formation of both permanent tooth crown enamel and dentin, whereas the effect of the X chromosome is seen mainly in enamel formation. In particular, the effect of the Y chromosome on dentin formation explains the expression of sexual dimorphism in crown size. When crown growth is complete, root dentin is formed and requires proliferation of epithelial cells in Hertwig’s epithelial root sheath to initiate the differentiation of root odontoblasts. These epithelial cells determine the size, shape and number of the roots. There is a clear sex difference in tooth crown sizes, men have larger teeth than women. The aim of this research was to study completed permanent tooth root lengths in individuals with sex chromosome abnormalities and 46,XY females, an approach which might also provide some clues for a further insight into the development of sexual dimorphism in human growth. The underlying hypothesis was that the effect of the X and Y chromosomes on crown growth is also expressed in root growth.

The subjects were participants of L. Alvesalo’s research project, Kvantti, and comprised 45,X/46,XX females, 47,XYY and 47,XXY males and female sex reversals with insensitivity to androgens (46,XY females). The root lengths were measured from dental panoramic radiographs with a sliding digital calliper. All available teeth (except third molars) with complete root formation on both sides of the jaws were measured.

The results showed longer final permanent tooth root lengths in 47,XYY and 47,XXY males, while the roots in 45,X/46,XX females were shorter compared with the values of normal men and women, respectively. The root lengths of 46,XY females were longer compared to normal women and placed on a level with normal men. The root morphology did not reveal any major deviations from normal variation. In terms of population dental developmental standards it is conceivable that changes in these study groups in final size of their permanent tooth roots become evident during a period beginning eight years after birth and continuing up to the age of 14 years, at least.

It became clear that the effect of the Y chromosome on tooth root growth is greater than that of the X chromosome, and this may cause the observed sexual dimorphism, males having longer roots than females. It is suggested that root growth may be affected by the same genes on the X and Y chromosomes which promote crown growth.

see all

Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-8170-5
ISBN Print: 951-42-8169-1
Issue: 885
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2006. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.