• Dental pulp;
  • Mesenchymal progenitor cell;
  • Bone formation


The technique of tissue engineering is developing for the restoration of lost tissues. This new technique requires cells that fabricate tissue. Mesenchymal stem cells in bone marrow have been used as the cell source for this technique; however, dental pulp cells have recently been shown to possess stem-cell-like properties.

We earlier demonstrated that dental pulp cells proliferate and produce an extracellular matrix that subsequently becomes mineralized in vitro. We now report that such dental pulp cells (first to eighth passage) produced bone instead of dentin when those cells were implanted into subcutaneous sites in immunocompromised mice with HA/TCP powder as their carrier. This evidence shows that dental pulp cells are the common progenitors of odontoblasts and osteoblasts, or dental pulp cells are mesenchymal stem cells themselves.

It is expected that dental pulp cells can be a useful candidate cell source for tissue engineering, and contain the potential of new therapeutic approaches for the restoration of damaged or diseased tissue.