Objectives: Epithelial-mesenchymal interactions are extremely important in tooth development and essential for ameloblast differentiation, especially during tooth formation. We aimed to identify the type of mesenchymal cells important in ameloblast differentiation. Methods: We used two types of cell culture systems with chambers and found that a subset of debtal mesenchimal cells is important for the differentiatiuon of dental spithelial cells into ameloblasts. Further, we induced dental pulp stem cell-like cells from dental pulp stem cells using the small molecule compound BIO ( a GSK-3 inhibitor IX) to clarify the mechanism involved in ameloblast differentiation induced by dental pulp stem cells. Results: The BIO-induced dental pulp cells promoted the expression of mesenchymal stem cell markers Oct3/4 and Bcrp1. Furthermore, we used artificial dental pulp stem cells induced by BIO to identify the molecules expressed in dental pulp stem cells required for ameloblast differentiation. Panx3 expression was induced in the dental pulp stem cell through interaction with the dental epithelial cells. In addition, ATP release from cells increased in Panx3-expressing cells. We also confirmed that ATP stimulation is accepted in dental epithelial cells. Conclusions: These results showed that the Panx3 expressed in dental pulp stem cells is important for ameloblast differentiation and that ATP release by Panx3 may play a role in epithelial–mesenchymal interaction.
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