Regenerative potential of human dental pulp stem cells in the treatment of stress urinary incontinence: In vitro and in vivo study

Cell Prolif. 2019 Nov;52(6):e12675. doi: 10.1111/cpr.12675. Epub 2019 Sep 25.


Objectives: To evaluate the regenerative potential of human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) in an animal model of stress urinary incontinence (SUI). SUI, an involuntary leakage of urine, is due to physical stress involving an increase in bladder pressure and a damage of external urethral sphincter affecting muscles and nerves. Conventional therapies can only relieve the symptoms. Human DPSCs are characterized by peculiar stemness and immunomodulatory properties and might provide an alternative tool for SUI therapy.

Materials and methods: In vitro phase: hDPSCs were induced towards the myogenic commitment following a 24 hours pre-conditioning with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-Aza), then differentiation was evaluated. In vivo phase: pudendal nerve was transected in female rats to induce stress urinary incontinence; then, pre-differentiated hDPSCs were injected in the striated urethral sphincter. Four weeks later, urethral sphincter regeneration was assayed through histological, functional and immunohistochemical analyses.

Results: Human DPSCs were able to commit towards myogenic lineage in vitro and, four weeks after cell injection, hDPSCs engrafted in the external urethral sphincter whose thickness was almost recovered, committed towards myogenic lineage in vivo, promoted vascularization and an appreciable recovery of the continence. Moreover, hDPSCs were detected within the nerve, suggesting their participation in repair of transected nerve.

Conclusions: These promising data and further investigations on immunomodulatory abilities of hDPSCs would allow to make them a potential tool for alternative therapies of SUI.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Dental Pulp / cytology
  • Dental Pulp / drug effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Rats
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Urethra / cytology
  • Urethra / drug effects*
  • Urinary Incontinence, Stress / drug therapy*

Grant support