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, 84 (5), 390-406

Are Cementoblasts a Subpopulation of Osteoblasts or a Unique Phenotype?


Are Cementoblasts a Subpopulation of Osteoblasts or a Unique Phenotype?

D D Bosshardt. J Dent Res.


Experimental studies have shown a great potential for periodontal regeneration. The limitations of periodontal regeneration largely depend on the regenerative potential at the root surface. Cellular intrinsic fiber cementum (CIFC), so-called bone-like tissue, may form instead of the desired acellular extrinsic fiber cementum (AEFC), and the interfacial tissue bonding may be weak. The periodontal ligament harbors progenitor cells that can differentiate into periodontal ligament fibroblasts, osteoblasts, and cementoblasts, but their precise location is unknown. It is also not known whether osteoblasts and cementoblasts arise from a common precursor cell line, or whether distinct precursor cell lines exist. Thus, there is limited knowledge about how cell diversity evolves in the space between the developing root and the alveolar bone. This review supports the hypothesis that AEFC is a unique tissue, while CIFC and bone share some similarities. Morphologically, functionally, and biochemically, however, CIFC is distinctly different from any bone type. There are several lines of evidence to propose that cementoblasts that produce both AEFC and CIFC are unique phenotypes that are unrelated to osteoblasts. Cementum attachment protein appears to be cementum-specific, and the expression of two proteoglycans, fibromodulin and lumican, appears to be stronger in CIFC than in bone. A theory is presented that may help explain how cell diversity evolves in the periodontal ligament. It proposes that Hertwig's epithelial root sheath and cells derived from it play an essential role in the development and maintenance of the periodontium. The role of enamel matrix proteins in cementoblast and osteoblast differentiation and their potential use for tissue engineering are discussed.

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