eCM (Eur Cell Mater / e Cells & Materials) Not-for-Profit Open Access
Created by Scientists, for Scientists
 ISSN:1473-2262         NLM:100973416 (link)         DOI:10.22203/eCM

2012   Volume No 24 – pages 426-440

Title: Fighting for territories: time-lapse analysis of dental pulp and dental follicle stem cells in co-culture reveals specific migratory capabilities

Author: C Schiraldi, A Stellavato, A D’Agostino, V Tirino, R d’Aquino, A Woloszyk, A De Rosa, L Laino, G Papaccio, TA Mitsiadis

Address: University of Zurich, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Oral Biology, ZZM, Plattenstrasse 11, 8032 Zurich, Switzerland

E-mail: thimios.mitsiadis at

Key Words: Tooth; odontoblast; dental follicle; periodontal ligament; dental pulp; dental stem cells; tooth repair; regeneration.

Publication date: November 23rd 2012

Abstract: Stem cell migration is a critical step during the repair of damaged tissues. In order to achieve appropriate cell-based therapies for tooth and periodontal ligament repair it is necessary first to understand the dynamics of tissue-specific stem cell populations such as dental pulp stem cells (DPSC) and dental follicle stem cells (DFSC). Using time-lapse imaging, we analysed migratory and proliferative capabilities of these two human stem cell lines in vitro. When cultured alone, both DPSC and DFSC exhibited low and irregular migration profiles. In co-cultures, DFSC, but not DPSC, spectacularly increased their migration activity and velocity. DFSC rapidly surrounded the DPSC, thus resembling the in vivo developmental process, where follicle cells encircle both dental epithelium and pulp. Cell morphology was dependent on the culture conditions (mono-culture or co-culture) and changed over time. Regulatory genes involved in dental cell migration and differentiation such as TWIST1, MSX1, RUNX2, SFRP1 and ADAM28, were also evaluated in co-cultures. MSX1 up-regulation indicates that DPSC and DFSC retain their odontogenic potential. However, DPSC lose their capacity to differentiate into odontoblasts in the presence of DFSC, as suggested by RUNX2 up-regulation and TWIST1 down-regulation. In contrast, the unchanged levels of SFRP1 expression suggest that DFSC retain their potential to form periodontal tissues even in the presence of DPSC. These findings demonstrate that stem cells behave differently according to their environment, retain their genetic memory, and compete with each other to acquire the appropriate territory. Understanding the mechanisms involved in stem cell migration may lead to new therapeutic approaches for tooth repair.

Article download: Pages 426-440 (PDF file)
DOI: 10.22203/eCM.v024a30