Progenitor cell populations in the periodontal ligament of mice



Stem cells in a variety of renewal tissues exhibit a slow rate of cell proliferation (Potten et al., 1979). The periodontal ligament of mouse molars was examined for the presence of slowly cycling progenitor cells to provide evidence for the existence of stem cells in this tissue. A pulse injection of 3H-thymidine was administered and mice were sacrificed between 1 hour and 14 days after injection. Analysis of radioautographs using percentage of labeled cells and grain counts demonstrated that a population of label-retaining cells within 10 μm of blood vessels traversed the cell cycle more slowly than proliferating cells located greater than 10 μm from blood vessels. These data suggest that there is a slowly dividing population of progenitor cells in paravascular sites in mouse molar periodontal ligament which may be stem cells.