Localization and osteoblastic differentiation potential of neural crest-derived cells in oral tissues of adult mice

Miki Ono, Tetsuo Suzawa, Masamichi Takami, Gou Yamamoto, Tomohiko Hosono, Atsushi Yamada, Dai Suzuki, Kentaro Yoshimura, Junichi Watahiki, Ryuhei Hayashi, Satoru Arata, Kenji Mishima, Kohji Nishida, Noriko Osumi, Koutaro Maki, Ryutaro Kamijo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


In embryos, neural crest cells emerge from the dorsal region of the fusing neural tube and migrate throughout tissues to differentiate into various types of cells including osteoblasts. In adults, subsets of neural crest-derived cells (NCDCs) reside as stem cells and are considered to be useful cell sources for regenerative medicine strategies. Numerous studies have suggested that stem cells with a neural crest origin persist into adulthood, especially those within the mammalian craniofacial compartment. However, their distribution as well as capacity to differentiate into osteoblasts in adults is not fully understood. To analyze the precise distribution and characteristics of NCDCs in adult oral tissues, we utilized an established line of double transgenic (P0-Cre/CAG-CAT-EGFP) mice in which NCDCs express green fluorescent protein (GFP) throughout their life. GFP-positive cells were scattered like islands throughout tissues of the palate, gingiva, tongue, and buccal mucosa in adult mice, with those isolated from the latter shown to form spheres, typical cell clusters composed of stem cells, under low-adherent conditions. Furthermore, GFP-positive cells had markedly increased alkaline phosphatase (a marker enzyme of osteoblast differentiation) activity and mineralization as shown by alizarin red staining, in the presence of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2. These results suggest that NCDCs reside in various adult oral tissues and possess potential to differentiate into osteoblastic cells. NCDCs in adults may be a useful cell source for bone regeneration strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1209-1214
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and biophysical research communications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Sep 4


  • Adult
  • Cellular differentiation
  • Neural crest-derived cells
  • Oral tissues
  • Osteoblasts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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