Regenerative medicine is based on stem cells, signals, and scaffolds. Dental pulp tissue has the potential to regenerate dentin in response to noxious stimuli, such as caries. The progenitor/stem cells are responsible for this regeneration. Thus, stem cell therapy has considerable promise in dentin regeneration. Culture of porcine pulp cells, as a three-dimensional pellet, promoted odontoblast differentiation compared with monolayers. The expression of dentin sialophosphoprotein (Dspp) and enamelysin/matrix metalloproteinase 20 (MMP20) mRNA confirmed the differentiation of pulp cells into odontoblasts and was stimulated by the morphogenetic signal, bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP2). Based on the in vitro experiments, an in vivo evaluation of pulp progenitor/stem cells in the dog was performed. The autogenous transplantation of the BMP2-treated pellet culture onto the amputated pulp stimulated reparative dentin formation. In conclusion, BMP2 can direct pulp progenitor/stem cell differentiation into odontoblasts and result in dentin formation. Abbreviations: BMP2, bone morphogenetic protein 2; Dspp, dentin sialophosphoprotein; Dmp1, dentin matrix protein 1; ALPase, alkaline phosphatase; MMP20, matrix metalloproteinase 20; Phex, phosphate-regulating gene with homologies to endopeptidases on X-chromosome.
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