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J Endod. 2010 Mar;36(3):469-74. doi: 10.1016/j.joen.2009.12.022.

Deciduous and permanent dental pulp mesenchymal cells acquire hepatic morphologic and functional features in vitro.

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Department of Oral Health, Nippon Dental University, School of Life Dentistry at Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.



Mesenchymal stem cells display extensive proliferative capacity of multilineage differentiation. The stromal compartment of mesenchymal tissues is considered to harbor stem cells. We assessed the endodermal differentiation of mesenchymal cells from deciduous and wisdom tooth pulp.


Dental mesenchymal cells were isolated and expanded in vitro. After cell cultures had been established, cells were characterized using known stem cell markers. For hepatic differentiation the media was supplemented with hepatic growth factor, dexamethasone, Insulin-Transferrin-Selenium-X, and oncostatin.


Both cultures showed a number of cells positive for specific hepatic markers including alpha-fetoprotein, albumin, and hepatic nuclear factor 4alpha after differentiation. Also, small clusters of cells positive for insulin-like growth factor 1 were found. The concentration of urea increased significantly in the media. Moreover, a significant amount of glycogen was found in the cells.


Because the cells proved to produce specific hepatic proteins and to start functions specific for hepatocytes, such as storing glycogen and urea production, we may state that the mesenchymal cell cultures from wisdom and deciduous tooth pulp acquired morphologic and functional characteristics of hepatocytes.

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