Introduction. Interest in the use of dental pulp stem cells (DPSC) to enhance neurological recovery following stroke and traumatic injury is increasing following successful pre-clinical studies. A murine model of autologous neural stem cell transplantation would be useful for further pre-clinical investigation of the underlying mechanisms. However, while human-derived DPSC have been well characterised, the neurogenic potential of murine DPSC (mDPSC) has been largely neglected. In this study we demonstrate neuronal differentiation of DPSC from murine incisors in vitro. Methods. mDPSC were cultured under neuroinductive conditions and assessed for neuronal and glial markers and electrophysiological functional maturation. Results: mDPSC developed a neuronal morphology and high expression of neural markers nestin, ßIII-tubulin and GFAP. Neurofilament M and S100 were found in lower abundance. Differentiated cells also expressed protein markers for cholinergic, GABAergic and glutaminergic neurons, indicating a mixture of central and peripheral nervous system cell types. Intracellular electrophysiological analysis revealed the presence of voltage-gated L-type Ca2+ channels in a majority of cells with neuronal morphology. No voltage-gated Na+ or K+ currents were found and the cultures did not support spontaneous action potentials. Neuronal-like networks expressed the gap junction protein, connexin 43 but this was not associated with dye coupling between adjacent cells after injection of the low-molecular weight tracers Lucifer yellow or Neurobiotin. This indicated that the connexin proteins were not forming traditional gap junction channels. Conclusions: The data presented support the differentiation of mDPSC into immature neuronal-like networks.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Molecular Medicine
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Cell Biology