A subpopulation of mesenchymal stem cells, developmentally derived from multipotent neural crest cells that form multiple facial tissues, resides within the dental pulp of human teeth. These stem cells show high proliferative capacity in vitro and are multipotent, including adipogenic, myogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic, and neurogenic potential. Teeth containing viable cells are harvested via minimally invasive procedures, based on various clinical diagnoses, but then usually discarded as medical waste, indicating the relatively low ethical considerations to reuse these cells for medical applications. Previous studies have demonstrated that stem cells derived from healthy subjects are an excellent source for cell-based medicine, tissue regeneration, and bioengineering. Furthermore, stem cells donated by patients affected by genetic disorders can serve as in vitro models of disease-specific genetic variants, indicating additional applications of these stem cells with high plasticity. This review discusses the benefits, limitations, and perspectives of patient-derived dental pulp stem cells as alternatives that may complement other excellent, yet incomplete stem cell models, such as induced pluripotent stem cells, together with our recent data.
- Dental pulp stem cells
- Disease model
- Mesenchymal stem cells
- Stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth