Dentin-like tissue formation and biomineralization by multicellular human pulp cell spheres in vitro

Head Face Med. 2014 Jun 20:10:25. doi: 10.1186/1746-160X-10-25.


Introduction: Maintaining or regenerating a vital pulp is a preferable goal in current endodontic research. In this study, human dental pulp cell aggregates (spheres) were applied onto bovine and human root canal models to evaluate their potential use as pre-differentiated tissue units for dental pulp tissue regeneration.

Methods: Human dental pulp cells (DPC) were derived from wisdom teeth, cultivated into three-dimensional cell spheres and seeded onto bovine and into human root canals. Sphere formation, tissue-like and mineralization properties as well as growth behavior of cells on dentin structure were evaluated by light microscopy (LM), confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX).

Results: Spheres and outgrown cells showed tissue-like properties, the ability to merge with other cell spheres and extra cellular matrix formation; CLSM investigation revealed a dense network of actin and focal adhesion contacts (FAC) inside the spheres and a pronounced actin structure of cells outgrown from the spheres. A dentin-structure-orientated migration of the cells was shown by SEM investigation. Besides the direct extension of the cells into dentinal tubules, the coverage of the tubular walls with cell matrix was detected. Moreover, an emulation of dentin-like structures with tubuli-like and biomineral formation was detected by SEM- and EDX-investigation.

Conclusions: The results of the present study show tissue-like behavior, the replication of tubular structures and the mineralization of human dental pulp spheres when colonized on root dentin. The application of cells in form of pulp spheres on root dentin reveals their beneficial potential for dental tissue regeneration.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dental Pulp / cytology*
  • Dental Pulp / ultrastructure
  • Dentin / physiology
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Tissue Scaffolds