Clinical Oral Investigations

, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 1077–1089 | Cite as

Comparative differentiation analysis of distinct oral tissue-derived cells in response to osteogenic stimulation

  • S. ProkschEmail author
  • K. Kirsch
  • K. Vach
  • E. Hellwig
  • P. Tomakidi
Original Article



Mixed cell populations from oral tissues may be superior to pure stem cells for regenerative approaches. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to explore the osteogenic potential of mixed cells derived from oral connective tissues compared to alveolar osteoblasts.

Materials and methods

Primary cells were isolated from the alveolar bone, periodontal ligament and gingiva. Following characterization by colony formation, growth capacity and flow cytometry, all cells were subjected to osteogenic differentiation induction and screened for a large panel of osteogenic markers using western blots, qPCR arrays, and matrix mineralization and alkaline phosphatase quantification.


Non-induced mixed cells from gingiva showed higher colony formation efficiency but decreased proliferation compared to non-induced periodontal mixed cells, while both entities revealed similar surface markers tested in this setup. Following osteogenic induction, all cell populations individually expressed receptors with distinctively activated downstream effectors. Gene expression of induced periodontal mixed cells was similar to alveolar osteoblasts, but was differently modulated in gingival mixed cells. The latter failed to achieve osteogenic differentiation in terms of matrix mineralization and alkaline phosphatase activity, which was well observed in periodontal mixed cells and osteoblasts.


Mixed cells from periodontal ligament but not from gingiva feature an inherent osteogenic capacity in vitro. From these results, it can be concluded that periodontal cells do not require further stem cell enrichment in order to qualify for bone regeneration.

Clinical relevance

Our data contribute to the development of novel cell-based therapies using mixed cells from the periodontal ligament in regenerative periodontics.


Osteoblasts (MeSH-ID D010006) Periodontal ligament (MeSH-ID D010513) Gingiva (MeSH-ID D005881) Cells (MeSH-ID D002477) Osteogenesis (MeSH-ID D010012) 



The authors are grateful to Anja Kaufmann for her excellent technical assistance.


The corresponding author is indebted to the Baden Württemberg Stiftung for the financial support of this research project by the ‘Eliteprogramme for Postdocs’.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Committee of Ethics of the Medical Faculty of the Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg, Germany, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Supplementary material

784_2018_2529_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (47 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 46.5 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.G.E.R.N. Tissue Replacement, Regeneration & Neogenesis, Department of Operative Dentistry and Periodontology, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineAlbert Ludwigs University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Center for Dental Medicine, Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineAlbert Ludwigs University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  3. 3.Dental Office Dr. SchultzFreiburgGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Medical Biometry and Statistics, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineAlbert Ludwigs University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany
  5. 5.Centre for Dental Medicine, Department of Oral Biotechnology, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of MedicineAlbert Ludwigs University of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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