The lifespan of the tooth is influenced by the periodontal ligament (PDL), a specialized connective tissue that connects the cementum with the tooth socket bone. Generation of a cell line from PDL progenitor/stem cells would allow development of tissue engineering-based regenerative PDL therapy. However, little is known about the characteristics of PDL progenitor/stem cells because PDL tissue consists of a heterogeneous cell population and there are no pure PDL cell lines. Recently, we succeeded in immortalizing primary human PDL fibroblasts (HPLFs) by transfecting them with SV40 T-antigen and hTERT (Cell Tissue Res 2006; 324: 117-125). In this study, we isolated three clonal cell lines from these immortalized cells (lines 1-4, 1-11, and 1-24) that express RUNX-2, Col1, ALP, OPN, OCN, RANKL, OPG, scleraxis, periostin, Col XII, and α-SMA mRNA. Immunocytochemical analysis demonstrated that CD146 was expressed in cell lines 1-4 and 1-11 and that STRO-1 was expressed in lines 1-11 and 1-24. Lines 1-4 and 1-11 differentiated into osteoblastic cells and adipocytes when cultured in lineage-specific differentiation media. Four weeks after transplanting cell line 1-11 into immunodeficient mice with β-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP), the transplant produced cementum/bone-like tissues around the β-TCP. Eight weeks after transplantation, the 1-11 celltransplantformed PDL-like structures on the surface of the β-TCP. These data suggest that cell line 1-11 was derived from a progenitor/stem cell present in the PDL and should be very useful for studying the biology and regeneration of human periodontium.
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