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Enamel Secretion

In this image ameloblasts (A) have differentiated from the cells of the IDE and are secreting enamel (B). They appear as a simple layer of tall columnar epithelial cells. Outside the ameloblasts is an epithelial layer (C) that at one time was 3 separate layers: the stratum intermedium, stellate reticulum and ODE. Capillaries (D) are always separated from the ameloblasts by this condensed epithelial layer that functions to monitor the flow of food and waste to and from the ameloblasts. Look carefully at the junction of the ameloblasts with the enamel. A densely stained line (E) appears to join the secretory ends of the ameloblasts together. This line is composed of the terminal bars. The very end of each ameloblast projects beyond the level of the terminal bars and is embedded in the immature enamel. These ends of the ameloblasts are called Tomes' processes (F). Dentin (G) lies in the upper right corner of the field.


A - ameloblasts
B - enamel
C - condensed epithelial layer
D - capillaries

E - terminal bars
F - Tomes' processes
G - dentin
H - D-E junction


Lecture Notes

Enlarged Image

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