Differentiation potential of stem cells from human dental origin - promise for tissue engineering.

K. Kadar, M. Kiraly, B. Porcsalmy, B. Molnar, G. Z. Racz, J. Blazsek, K. Kallo, E. L. Szabo, I. Gera, G. Gerber, G. Varga

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Recent studies have revealed the existence of stem cells in various human tissues including dental structures. We aimed to establish primary cell cultures from human dental pulp and periodontal ligament, to identify multipotential adult stem cells in these cultures, and to study the differentiation capacity of these cells to osteogenic and to neuronal fates. Dental pulp and the periodontal ligament were isolated from extracted human wisdom teeth. The extracellular matrix was enzymatically degraded to obtain isolated cells for culturing. Both dental pulp and periodontal ligament derived cultures showed high proliferative capacity and contained a cell population expressing the STRO-1 mesenchymal stem cell marker. Osteogenic induction by pharmacological stimulation resulted in mineralized differentiation as shown by Alizarin red staining in both cultures. When already described standard neurodifferentiation protocols were used, cultures exhibited only transient neurodifferentiation followed by either redifferentiation into a fibroblast-like phenotype or massive cell death. Our new three-step neurodifferentiation protocol consisting of (1) epigenetic reprogramming, then (2) simultaneous PKC/PKA activation, followed by (3) incubation in a neurotrophic medium resulted in robust neurodifferentiation in both pulp and periodontal ligament cultures shown by cell morphology, immunocytochemistry and real time PCR for vimentin and neuron-specific enolase. In conclusion, we report the isolation, culture and characterization of stem cell containing cultures from both human dental pulp and periodontal ligament. Furthermore, our data clearly show that both cultures differentiate into mineralized cells or to a neuronal fate in response to appropriate pharmacological stimuli. Therefore, these cells have high potential to serve as resources for tissue engineering not only for dental or bone reconstruction, but also for neuroregenerative treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-175
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of physiology and pharmacology : an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society
Volume60 Suppl 7
Publication statusPublished - dec. 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology

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