In Vivo Osteogenic Differentiation of Human Dental Pulp Stem Cells Embedded in an Injectable In Vivo-Forming Hydrogel

Ja Yong Jang, Seung Hun Park, Ji Hoon Park, Bo Keun Lee, Jeong-Ho Yun, Bong Lee, Jae Ho Kim, Byoung Hyun Min, Moon Suk Kim
Macromolecular Bioscience 2016, 16 (8): 1158-69
In this study, human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) are examined as a cellular source for bone tissue engineering using an in vivo-forming hydrogel. The hDPSCs are easily harvested in large quantities from extracted teeth. The stemness of harvested hDPSCs indicates their relative tolerance to ex vivo manipulation in culture. The in vitro osteogenic differentiation of hDPSCs is characterized using Alizarin Red S (ARS), von Kossa (VK), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) staining. The solution of hDPSCs and a methoxy polyethylene glycol-polycaprolactone block copolymer (PC) is easily prepared by simple mixing at room temperature and in no more than 10 s it forms in vivo hydrogels after subcutaneous injection into rats. In vivo osteogenic differentiation of hDPSCs in the in vivo-forming hydrogel is confirmed by micro-computed tomography (CT), histological staining, and gene expression. Micro-CT analysis shows evidence of significant tissue-engineered bone formation in hDPSCs-loaded hydrogel in the presence of osteogenic factors. Differentiated osteoblasts in in vivo-forming hydrogel are identified by ARS and VK staining and are found to exhibit characteristic expression of genes like osteonectin, osteopontin, and osteocalcin. In conclusion, hDPSCs embedded in an in vivo-forming hydrogel may provide benefits as a noninvasive formulation for bone tissue engineering applications.

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