2015 Volume 36 Issue 1 Pages 31-45
The existence of progenitor/mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) was demonstrated previously in human primary/deciduous teeth. In this study, we examined dental pulp cells from root portion (root cells) of primary teeth without discernible root resorption and compared them with pulp cells from the crown portion (crown cells). Root cells and crown cells were characterized and compared to each other based on progenitor/MSC characteristics and on their generation efficiency of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. Root cells and crown cells included cells manifesting typical progenitor/MSC properties such as osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation potential and clonogenicity. Interestingly, root cells showed a higher expression level of embryonic stem cell marker, KLF4, than crown cells. Moreover, the number of colony-forming unit-fibroblast and cell proliferation rate were higher for root cells than crown cells, and the efficiency of generating iPS cells from root cells was approximately four times higher than that from crown cells. Taken together, these results suggest that root cells from primary teeth show the MSC-like properties and thus could be a potent alternative source for iPS cell generation and the subsequent transplantation therapy.