Dental cell type atlas reveals stem and differentiated cell types in mouse and human teeth

Nat Commun. 2020 Sep 23;11(1):4816. doi: 10.1038/s41467-020-18512-7.


Understanding cell types and mechanisms of dental growth is essential for reconstruction and engineering of teeth. Therefore, we investigated cellular composition of growing and non-growing mouse and human teeth. As a result, we report an unappreciated cellular complexity of the continuously-growing mouse incisor, which suggests a coherent model of cell dynamics enabling unarrested growth. This model relies on spatially-restricted stem, progenitor and differentiated populations in the epithelial and mesenchymal compartments underlying the coordinated expansion of two major branches of pulpal cells and diverse epithelial subtypes. Further comparisons of human and mouse teeth yield both parallelisms and differences in tissue heterogeneity and highlight the specifics behind growing and non-growing modes. Despite being similar at a coarse level, mouse and human teeth reveal molecular differences and species-specific cell subtypes suggesting possible evolutionary divergence. Overall, here we provide an atlas of human and mouse teeth with a focus on growth and differentiation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Epithelial Cells
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Humans
  • Incisor / cytology
  • Incisor / growth & development
  • Male
  • Mesoderm / cytology
  • Mesoderm / growth & development
  • Mesoderm / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Models, Animal
  • Molar / cytology
  • Molar / growth & development
  • Odontoblasts
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Tooth / cytology*
  • Tooth / growth & development*
  • Young Adult