Cementum matrix formation in vivo by cultured dental follicle cells

K. Handa, Masahiro Saito, M. Yamauchi, T. Kiyono, S. Sato, T. Teranaka, A. Sampath Narayanan

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99 Citations (Scopus)


Dental follicle is the fibrous tissue that surrounds the developing tooth germ, and it is believed to contain progenitors for cementoblasts, periodontal ligament cells, and osteoblasts. In this study, we report the presence of cementoblast progenitors in cultures of bovine dental follicle cells and demonstrate their differentiation capacity. Bovine dental follicle cells (BDFC) obtained from tooth germs by collagenase digestion were compared with bovine alveolar bone osteoblasts (BAOB) and bovine periodontal ligament cells (BPDL) in vitro and in vivo. In culture, BDFC exhibited low levels of alkaline phosphatase activity and expressed mRNA for osteopontin (OP) and type I collagen (COLI), as well as low levels of osteocalcin (OC) mRNA. In contrast, cultured BAOB exhibited high alkaline phosphatase activity levels and expressed mRNA for OC, OP, COLI, and bone sialoprotein (BSP). To elucidate the differentiation capacity of BDFC in vivo, cells were transplanted into severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mice and analyzed after 4 weeks. Transplanted BDFC formed fibrous tissue and cementum-like matrix, which stained positive for anti-cementum attachment protein (CAP) monoclonal antibody (3G9), and expressed mRNA for OC, OP, COLI, and BSP. On the other hand, transplanted BAOB formed bone-like matrix, but were negative for anti-CAP monoclonal antibody. The BPDL transplants formed fibrous tissue that contained a few cells expressing CAP. These results indicate that cementoblast progenitors are present in BDFC, which can provide a useful model for investigating the molecular mechanisms of cementogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)606-611
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2002 Nov 1


  • Cementoblast progenitors
  • Differentiation
  • In vivo transplantation
  • Tooth germ


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