Previous studies suggest that neural crest (NC)-derived stem cells may reside in NC derivatives including the human periodontal ligament (hPDL). The isolation and manipulation of autologous NC-derived cells could be an accessible source of adult neural stem cells for their use in cell
replacement and gene transfer to the diseased central nervous system. In this study, we examined the expression of NC markers and neural differentiation potential of hPDL-derived cells both in vitro and in vivo. In vitro we found that hPDL-derived cells expressed stem cell markers (Oct3/4,
Nestin, Sox2, and Musashi-1) and a subset of NC cell markers (Slug, p75NTR, Twist, and Sox9). hPDL-derived cells differentiated into neural-like cells based on cellular morphology and neural marker expression (TUJ1, MAP2, MAP1b, GAD65/67, GABA, NeuN, ChAT, GAT1, synaptophysin, GFAP,
NG2, and O4). In vivo, hPDL-derived cells survive, migrate, and give rise to DCX+, NF-M+, GABA+, GFAP+, and NG2+ cells after grafting the adult mouse brain. Some of the grafted hPDL-derived cells were located in stem cell niches such as
the ventricular epithelium and the subventricular zone of the anterolateral ventricle wall as well as in the subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus. Thus, the hPDL contains stem cells that originate from the NC and can differentiate into neural cells. The engraftment and differentiation
properties of hPDL-derived cells in the adult brain indicate that they are a potential stem cell source to be used in neuroregenerative and/or neurotrophic medicine.
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.