Postnatal human dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) in vitro and in vivo

S. Gronthos, M. Mankani, J. Brahim, P. Gehron Robey, S. Shi

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Dentinal repair in the postnatal organism occurs through the activity of specialized cells, odontoblasts, that are thought to be maintained by an as yet undefined precursor population associated with pulp tissue, in this study, we isolated a clonogenic, rapidly proliferative population of cells from adult human dental pulp. These DPSCs were then compared with human bone marrow stromal cells (SMSCs), known precursors of osteoblasts. Although they share a similar immunophenotype in vitro, functional studies showed that DPSCs produced only sporadic, but densely calcified nodules, and did not form adipocytes, whereas BMSCs routinely calcified throughout the adherent cell layer with clusters of lipidladen adipocytes. When DPSCs were transplanted into immunocompromised mice, they generated a dentin-like structure lined with human odontoblast-like cells that surrounded a pulp-like interstitial tissue. In contrast, SMSCs formed lamellar bone containing osteocytes and surface-lining osteoblasts, surrounding a fibrous vascular tissue with active hematopoiesis and adipocytes. This study isolates postnatal human DPSCs that have the ability to form a dentin/pulp-like complex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13625-13630
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Dentin
  • In vivo transplantation
  • Odontoblast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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