Concomitant multipotent and unipotent dental pulp progenitors and their respective contribution to mineralised tissue formation

Eur Cell Mater. 2012 May 24;23:371-86. doi: 10.22203/ecm.v023a29.


Upon in vitro induction or in vivo implantation, the stem cells of the dental pulp display hallmarks of odontoblastic, osteogenic, adipogenic or neuronal cells. However, whether these phenotypes result from genuine multipotent cells or from coexistence of distinct progenitors is still an open question. Furthermore, determining whether a single cell-derived progenitor is capable of undergoing a differentiation cascade leading to tissue repair in situ is important for the development of cell therapy strategies. Three clonal pulp precursor cell lines (A4, C5, H8), established from embryonic ED18 first molars of mouse transgenic for a recombinant plasmid adeno-SV40, were induced to differentiate towards the odonto/osteogenic, chondrogenic or adipogenic programme. Expression of phenotypic markers of each lineage was evaluated by RT-PCR, histochemistry or immunocytochemistry. The clones were implanted into mandibular incisors or calvaria of adult mice. The A4 clone was capable of being recruited towards at least 3 mesodermal lineages in vitro and of contributing to dentin-like or bone formation, in vivo, thus behaving as a multipotent cell. In contrast, the C5 and H8 clones displayed a more restricted potential. Flow cytometric analysis revealed that isolated monopotent and multipotent clones could be distinguished by a differential expression of CD90. Altogether, isolation of these clonal lines allowed demonstrating the coexistence of multipotential and restricted-lineage progenitors in the mouse pulp. These cells may further permit unravelling specificities of the different types of pulp progenitors, hence facilitating the development of cell-based therapies of the dental pulp or other cranio-facial tissues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation*
  • Cell Lineage
  • Dental Pulp* / cytology
  • Dental Pulp* / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molar / cytology
  • Molar / growth & development
  • Multipotent Stem Cells* / cytology
  • Multipotent Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Odontoblasts / cytology
  • Odontoblasts / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis* / physiology