Document Type



Dentistry | Medicine and Health Sciences


In the past few years there have been significant advances in the identification of putative stem cells also referred to as “mesenchymal stem cells” (MSC) in dental tissues including the dental pulp. It is thought that MSC in dental pulp share certain similarities with MSC isolated from other tissues. However, cells in dental pulp are still poorly characterized. This study focused on the characterization of progenitor and stem cells in dental pulps of erupted and unerupted mice molars. Our study showed that dental pulps from unerupted molars contain a significant number of cells expressing CD90+/CD45-, CD117+/CD45-, Sca-1+/CD45- and little if any CD45+ cells. Our in vitro functional studies showed that dental pulp cells from unerupted molars displayed extensive osteo-dentinogenic potential but were unable to differentiate into chondrocytes and adipocytes. Dental pulp from erupted molars displayed a reduced number of cells, contained higher percentage of CD45+ and lower percentage of cells expressing CD90+/CD45-, CD117+/CD45- as compared to unerupted molars. In vitro functional assays demonstrated the ability of a small fraction of cells to differentiate into odontoblasts, osteoblasts, adipocytes and chondrocytes. There was a significant reduction in the osteo-dentinogenic potential of the pulp cells derived from erupted molars compared to unerupted molars. Furthermore, the adipogenic and chondrogenic differentiation of pulp cells from erupted molars was dependent on a long induction period and infrequent. Based on these findings we propose that the dental pulp of the erupted molars contain a small population of multipotent cells, whereas the dental pulp of the unerupted molars does not contain multipotent cells but is enriched in osteo-dentinogenic progenitors engaged in the formation of coronal and radicular odontoblasts.


Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 June 1. Published in final edited form as: Bone. 2010 June; 46(6): 1639–1651.
Published online 2010 February 26. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2010.02.019.

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