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Subcultured Odontogenic Epithelial Cells in Combination With Dental Mesenchymal Cells Produce Enamel–Dentin-Like Complex Structures

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We showed in a previous study that odontogenic epithelial cells can be selectively cultured from the enamel organ in serum-free medium and expanded using feeder layers of 3T3-J2 cells. The subcultured odontogenic epithelial cells retain the capacity for ameloblast-related gene expression, as shown by semiquantitative RT-PCR. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the potential of subcultured odontogenic epithelial cells to form tooth structures in cell–polymer constructs maintained in vivo. Enamel organs from 6-month-old porcine third molars were dissociated into single odontogenic epithelial cells and subcultured on feeder layers of 3T3-J2 cells. Amelogenin expression was detected in the subcultured odontogenic epithelial cells by immunostaining and Western blotting. The subcultured odontogenic epithelial cells were seeded onto collagen sponge scaffolds in combination with fresh dental mesenchymal cells, and transplanted into athymic rats. After 4 weeks, enamel–dentin-like complex structures were present in the implanted constructs. These results show that our culture system produced differentiating ameloblast-like cells that were able to secrete amelogenin proteins and form enamel-like tissues in vivo. This application of the subculturing technique provides a foundation for further tooth-tissue engineering and for improving our understanding of ameloblast biology.

Keywords: Ameloblast; Enamel–dentin complex; Odontogenic epithelial cells; Subculture; Tissue engineering

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Tooth Regeneration, Division of Stem Cell Engineering, The Institute of Medical Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo 108-8639, Japan 2: Japan Tissue Engineering Co. Ltd, Aichi 443-0022, Japan

Publication date: August 1, 2007

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  • Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.

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