Regenerative endodontics aims to preserve, repair or regenerate the dental pulp tissue. Dental pulp stem cells, have a potential use in dental tissue generation. However, specific requirements to drive the dental tissue generation are still obscured. We established an in vivo model for studying the survival of dental pulp cells (DPC) and their potential to generate dental pulp tissue. DPC were mixed with collagen scaffold with or without slow release bone morphogenic protein 4 (BMP-4) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2). The cell suspension was transplanted into a vascularized tissue engineering chamber in the rat groin. Tissue constructs were harvested after 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks and processed for histomorphological and immunohistochemical analysis. After 2 weeks newly formed tissue with new blood vessel formation were observed inside the chamber. DPC were found around dentin, particularly around the vascular pedicle and also close to the gelatin microspheres. Cell survival, was confirmed up to 8 weeks after transplantation. Dentin Sialophosphoprotein (DSPP) positive matrix production was detected in the chamber, indicating functionality of dental pulp progenitor cells. This study demonstrates the potential of our tissue engineering model to study rat dental pulp cells and their behavior in dental pulp regeneration, for future development of an alternative treatment using these techniques.
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