Human adult dental pulp stem cells enhance poststroke functional recovery through non-neural replacement mechanisms

Wai Khay Leong, Tanya L. Henshall, Agnes Arthur, Karlea L. Kremer, Martin D. Lewis, Stephen C. Helps, John Field, Monica A. Hamilton-Bruce, Scott Warming, Jim Manavis, Robert Vink, Stan Gronthos, Simon A. Koblar

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99 Citations (Scopus)


Human adult dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs), derived from third molar teeth, are multipotent and have the capacity to differentiate into neurons under inductive conditions both in vitro and following transplantation into the avian embryo. In this study, we demonstrate that the intracerebral transplantation of human DPSCs 24 hours following focal cerebral ischemia in a rodent model resulted in significant improvement in forelimb sensorimotor function at 4 weeks post-treatment. At this time, 2.3 ± 0.7% of engrafted cells had survived in the poststroke brain and demonstrated targeted migration toward the stroke lesion. In the peri-infarct striatum, transplanted DPSCs differentiated into astrocytes in preference to neurons. Our data suggest that the dominant mechanism of action underlying DPSC treatment that resulted in enhanced functional recovery is unlikely to be due to neural replacement. Functional improvement is more likely to be mediated through DPSC-dependent paracrine effects. This study provides preclinical evidence for the future use of human DPSCs in cell therapy to improve outcome in stroke patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells Translational Medicine
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Jan 2012


  • Dental pulp stem cells
  • Functional recovery
  • Rat model
  • Stem cell transplantation
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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