Effect of isolation methodology on stem cell properties and multilineage differentiation potential of human dental pulp stem cells

Cell Tissue Res. 2013 Jul;353(1):65-78. doi: 10.1007/s00441-013-1630-x. Epub 2013 May 29.


Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) are an attractive alternative mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) source because of their isolation simplicity compared with the more invasive methods associated with harvesting other MSC sources. However, the isolation method to be favored for obtaining DPSC cultures remains under discussion. This study compares the stem cell properties and multilineage differentiation potential of DPSCs obtained by the two most widely adapted isolation procedures. DPSCs were isolated either by enzymatic digestion of the pulp tissue (DPSC-EZ) or by the explant method (DPSC-OG), while keeping the culture media constant throughout all experiments and in both isolation methods. Assessment of the stem cell properties of DPSC-EZ and DPSC-OG showed no significant differences between the two groups with regard to proliferation rate and colony formation. Phenotype analysis indicated that DPSC-EZ and DPSC-OG were positive for CD29, CD44, CD90, CD105, CD117 and CD146 expression without any significant differences. The multilineage differentiation potential of both stem cell types was confirmed by using standard immuno(histo/cyto)chemical staining together with an in-depth ultrastructural analysis by means of transmission electron microscopy. Our results indicate that both DPSC-EZ and DPSC-OG could be successfully differentiated into adipogenic, chrondrogenic and osteogenic cell types, although the adipogenic differentiation of both stem cell populations was incomplete. The data suggest that both the enzymatic digestion and outgrowth method can be applied to obtain a suitable autologous DPSC resource for tissue replacement therapies of both bone and cartilage.

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis / physiology
  • Adolescent
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chondrogenesis / physiology
  • Dental Pulp / cytology*
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / physiology
  • Osteogenesis / physiology
  • Young Adult