Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) are shown to reside within the tooth and play an important role in dentin regeneration. DPSCs were first isolated and characterized from human teeth and most studies have focused on using this adult stem cell for clinical applications. However, mouse DPSCs have not been well characterized and their origin(s) have not yet been elucidated. Herein we examined if murine DPSCs are neural crest derived and determined their in vitro and in vivo capacity. DPSCs from neonatal murine tooth pulp expressed embryonic stem cell and neural crest related genes, but lacked expression of mesodermal genes. Cells isolated from the Wnt1-Cre/R26R-LacZ model, a reporter of neural crest-derived tissues, indicated that DPSCs were Wnt1-marked and therefore of neural crest origin. Clonal DPSCs showed multi-differentiation in neural crest lineage for odontoblasts, chondrocytes, adipocytes, neurons, and smooth muscles. Following in vivo subcutaneous transplantation with hydroxyapatite/tricalcium phosphate, based on tissue/cell morphology and specific antibody staining, the clones differentiated into odontoblast-like cells and produced dentin-like structure. Conversely, bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) gave rise to osteoblast-like cells and generated bone-like structure. Interestingly, the capillary distribution in the DPSC transplants showed close proximity to odontoblasts whereas in the BMSC transplants bone condensations were distant to capillaries resembling dentinogenesis in the former vs. osteogenesis in the latter. Thus we demonstrate the existence of neural crest-derived DPSCs with differentiation capacity into cranial mesenchymal tissues and other neural crest-derived tissues. In turn, DPSCs hold promise as a source for regenerating cranial mesenchyme and other neural crest derived tissues.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)