ABSTRACT: The dental follicle is an ectomesenchymal tissue that surrounds developing tooth germ and that contains osteoblastic-lineage-committed stem/progenitor cells. We examined the osteogenic potential of human dental follicle cells (hDFC) by microarray analysis. We first compared the characteristics of hDFC with those of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC). Like hMSC, hDFC expressed stem cell markers such as STRO-1 and Notch-1 and differentiated not only into the osteoblastic lineage, but also into the adipogenic lineage. We analyzed the gene expression profiles of hDFC and hMSC that were not differentiated toward the osteogenic lineage. The expression of cell markers and growth factor receptors by hDFC and hMSC was similar, whereas the expression pattern of homeobox genes differed between hDFC and hMSC. Next, we investigated gene expression in hDFC during osteogenic differentiation. Gene expression profiles were analyzed in hDFC cultured in osteogenic induction medium (OIM) or in growth medium (GM) for 3 and 10 days. Many genes whose expression was regulated under these conditions were functionally categorized as "transcription" genes. Osteogenic markers were up-regulated in hDFC during osteogenic differentiation, whereas neurogenic markers were down-regulated. The genes whose expression was regulated in hDFC during osteogenic differentiation were further analyzed by ingenuity pathway analysis and real-time polymerase chain reaction. Bone morphogenetic protein and transforming growth factor-β signaling pathways were activated in hDFC cultured in OIM for 3 days. This study indicates that the dental follicle contains stem cells and/or osteoblastic progenitor cells and is a potential cellular resource for bone regeneration therapy.
Cell and Tissue Research 08/2012; 350(2):317-31. · 3.11 Impact Factor