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Orthod Craniofac Res. 2005 Aug;8(3):191-9.

The efficacy of mesenchymal stem cells to regenerate and repair dental structures.

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  • 1Craniofacial and Skeletal Diseases Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health, MD, USA.



Identification, characterization, and potential application of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) derived from human dental tissues.


Dental pulp and periodontal ligament were obtained from normal human impacted third molars. The tissues were digested in collagenase/dispase to generate single cell suspensions. Cells were cultured in alpha-MEM supplemented with 20% fetal bovine serum, 2 mM l-glutamine, 100 microM l-ascorbate-2-phosphate. Magnetic and fluorescence activated cell sorting were employed to characterize the phenotype of freshly isolated and ex vivo expanded cell populations. The developmental potential of cultured cells was assessed following co-transplantation with hydroxyapetite/tricalcium phosphate (HA/TCP) particles into immunocompromised mice for 8 weeks.


MSC were identified in adult human dental pulp (dental pulp stem cells, DPSC), human primary teeth (stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth, SHED), and periodontal ligament (periodontal ligament stem cells, PDLSC) by their capacity to generate clongenic cell clusters in culture. Ex vivo expanded DPSC, SHED, and PDLSC populations expressed a heterogeneous assortment of makers associated with MSC, dentin, bone, smooth muscle, neural tissue, and endothelium. PDLSC were also found to express the tendon specific marker, Scleraxis. Xenogeneic transplants containing HA/TCP with either DPSC or SHED generated donor-derived dentin-pulp-like tissues with distinct odontoblast layers lining the mineralized dentin-matrix. In parallel studies, PDLSC generated cementum-like structures associated with PDL-like connective tissue when transplanted with HA/TCP into immunocompromised mice.


Collectively, these data revealed the presence of distinct MSC populations associated with dental structures with the potential of stem cells to regenerate living human dental tissues in vivo.

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