Fast progresses in stem cell-based tooth tissue engineering have been achieved in recent years in several animal models including the mouse, rat, dog, and pig. Moreover, various postnatal mesenchymal stem cells of dental origin have been isolated and shown capable of differentiating into odontoblasts and generating dentin. Meanwhile, human keratinocyte stem/progenitor cells, gingival epithelial cells, and even iPSC-derived epithelium have been demonstrated to be able to differentiate into functional ameloblasts. Translational medicine studies in the nonhuman primate are irreplaceable steps towards clinical application of stem cell-based tissue engineering therapy. In the present study, we first examined the epithelial stem cell markers in the rhesus skin using immunostaining. Keratinocyte stem cells were then isolated from rhesus epidermis, cultured in vitro, and characterized by epithelial stem cell markers. Epithelial sheets of these cultured keratinocytes, which were recombined with E13.5 mouse dental mesenchyme that possesses odontogenic potential in the presence of exogenous FGF8, were induced to differentiate into enamel-secreting ameloblasts. Our results demonstrate that in the presence of appropriate odontogenic signals, rhesus keratinocytes can be induced to gain odontogenic competence and are capable of participating in odontogenesis, indicating that rhesus keratinocytes are an ideal epithelial cell source for further translational medicine study of tooth tissue engineering in nonhuman primates.
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We thank Fuzhou Key Laboratory of Technical Evaluation of Fertility Regulation for Non-human Primates, National Health and Family Planning Commission of People’s Republic of China for providing rhesus skin tissues. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81271102 and 81570036).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Use of rhesus tissues in this study was approved by the Fujian Provincial Family Planning Institute of Science and Technology (Approval No. FJJHSY2014-202), and use of mice was approved by the Animal Ethical and Welfare Committee of Fujian Normal University (Approval No. IA15134).
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