Human Cell

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 43–50 | Cite as

Dentinogenic potential of human adult dental pulp cells during the extended primary culture

  • Jin-Hee Min
  • Seon-Yle Ko
  • Yong-Bum Cho
  • Chun-Jeih Ryu
  • Young-Joo Jang
Research Article


Despite the frequent use of primary dental pulp cells in dental regenerative research, few systematic studies of stemness for osteogenic and dentinogenic differentiation of human adult pulp cells have been reported. To investigate the stemness of human adult dental pulp cells, pulp tissues were obtained from extracted third molars and used as a source of pulp cells. In FACS analysis and immunophenotyping, the general mesenchymal stem cell markers CD44, CD90, and CD146 were highly expressed in early passages of the pulp cell culture. The stem cell population was dramatically decreased in an expansion culture of human dental pulp cells. When pulp cells were treated with additives such as β-glycerophosphate, ascorbic acid, and dexamethasone, nodule formation was facilitated and mineralization occurred within 2 weeks. Expression of osteogenic markers such as alkaline phosphatase, osteocalcin, and osteonectin was relatively low in undifferentiated cells, but increased significantly under differentiation conditions in whole passages. Dentinogenic markers such as dentin sialophosphoprotein and dentin matrix protein-1 appeared to decrease in their expression with increasing passage number; however, peak levels of expression occurred at around passage 5. These data suggested that stem cells with differentiation potential might exist in the dental pulp primary culture, and that their phenotypes were changed during expansion culture over 8–9 passages. Under these conditions, a dentinogenic population of pulp cells occurred in limited early passages, whereas osteogenic cells occurred throughout the whole passage range.


Human dental pulp cells Dentinogenic progenitors Adult stem cells Differentiation 



We thank Young-Hwan Oh and Hyo-Jung Hwang for providing experimental support. This work was supported by grants R31-10069 (WCU program) and 2009-0093829 (Priority Research Centers Program) through the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.


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Copyright information

© Japan Human Cell Society and Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jin-Hee Min
    • 1
  • Seon-Yle Ko
    • 2
  • Yong-Bum Cho
    • 2
  • Chun-Jeih Ryu
    • 3
  • Young-Joo Jang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.World Class University Research Department of Nanobiomedical Science, Institute of Tissue Regeneration EngineeringDankook UniversityCheonanKorea
  2. 2.The School of DentistryDankook UniversityCheonanKorea
  3. 3.Department of Bioscience and BiotechnologySejong UniversitySeoulKorea

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