Examining stem cells isolated from human dental follicles as a potential cell source for bone-tissue engineering to correct a critical bone defect, this study by Masaki J. Honda et al used impacted third molars and single cell-derived cell populations cultivated in growth medium. Single cell-derived cell lines were examined regarding cell shape, gene expression patterns, differentiation capacity in vitro, and osteogenic potential in vivo. The study identified 3 distinct cell populations with different morphologies, patterns of gene expression, and differentiation capacity. All 3 cell populations promoted bone formation when transplanted into surgically created critical-size defects in immunodeficient rat calvaria, compared with control animals without cell transplantation, although one of these populations showed a weak capacity for osteogenetic differentiation in vitro. The study concluded that human dental follicle could derive at least 3 unique cell populations in culture, all of which promote bone formation in vivo.
(Source: Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology, Oral Radiology, and Endodontology. June 2011, Volume 111, Issue 6, pages 700 to 708)