Perivascular niche of postnatal mesenchymal stem cells in human bone marrow and dental pulp

J Bone Miner Res. 2003 Apr;18(4):696-704. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.2003.18.4.696.


Mesenchymal stem cell populations have previously been identified in adult bone marrow and dental pulp that are capable of regenerating the bone marrow and dental pulp microenvironments, respectively. Here we show that these stem cell populations reside in the microvasculature of their tissue of origin. Human bone marrow stromal stem cells (BMSSCs) and dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) were isolated by immunoselection using the antibody, STRO-1, which recognizes an antigen on perivascular cells in bone marrow and dental pulp tissue. Freshly isolated STRO-1 positive BMSSCs and DPSCs were tested for expression of vascular antigens known to be expressed by endothelial cells (von Willebrand factor, CD146), smooth muscle cells, and pericytes (alpha-smooth muscle actin, CD146), and a pericyte-associated antigen (3G5), by immunohistochemistry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), and/or immunomagnetic bead selection. Both BMSSCs and DPSCs lacked expression of von Willebrand factor but were found to be positive for alpha-smooth muscle actin and CD146. Furthermore, the majority of DPSCs expressed the pericyte marker, 3G5, while only a minor population of BMSSCs were found to be positive for 3G5. The finding that BMSSCs and DPSCs both display phenotypes consistent with different perivascular cell populations, regardless of their diverse ontogeny and developmental potentials, may have further implications in understanding the factors that regulate the formation of mineralized matrices and other associated connective tissues.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, CD*
  • Antigens, Surface / metabolism
  • Blood Vessels / cytology
  • Blood Vessels / immunology
  • Bone Marrow / blood supply
  • Bone Marrow Cells / cytology*
  • CD146 Antigen
  • Dental Pulp / blood supply
  • Dental Pulp / cytology*
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cells / cytology
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules*
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stromal Cells / cytology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Surface
  • CD146 Antigen
  • MCAM protein, human
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules