Inducing Apical Periodontitis in Mice

* These authors contributed equally
This article has been accepted and is currently in production

Abstract

The mechanisms involved in local induced inflammation can be studied using several available animal models. One of these is the induction of apical periodontitis (AP). Apical periodontitis is a common pathology of an inflammatory nature in the periodontal tissues surrounding the tooth root. In order to better understand the nature and mechanism of this pathology it is advantageous to perform the procedure in mice. The induction of this odontogenic inflammation is achieved by drilling into the mouse tooth until the dental pulp is exposed. Next, the tooth pulp remains exposed to be contaminated by the natural oral flora over time, causing apical periodontitis. After this time period, the animal is sacrificed, and the tooth and the jaw bone can be analyzed in various ways. Typical analyses include micro-CT imaging (to evaluate bone resorption), histological staining, immunohistochemistry, and RNA expression. This protocol is useful for research in the field of oral biology to better understand this inflammatory process in an in vivo experimental setting with uniform conditions. The procedure requires a careful handling of the mice and the isolated jaw, and a visual demonstration of the technique is useful. All technical aspects of the procedures leading to induced apical periodontitis and its characterization in a mouse model are demonstrated.