Dental Pulp Stem Cells: Current Advances in Isolation, Expansion and Preservation
Human dental pulp cells (hDPCs) are a promising resource for regenerative medicine and tissue engineering and can be used for derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). However, current protocols use reagents of animal origin (mainly fetal bovine serum, FBS) that carry the potential risk of infectious diseases and unwanted immunogenicity. Here, we report a chemically defined protocol to isolate and maintain the growth and differentiation potential of hDPCs. hDPCs cultured under these conditions showed significantly less primary colony formation than those with FBS. Cell culture under stringently defined conditions revealed a donor-dependent growth capacity; however, once established, the differentiation capabilities of the hDPCs were comparable to those observed with FBS. DNA array analyses indicated that the culture conditions robustly altered hDPC gene expression patterns but, more importantly, had little effect on neither pluripotent gene expression nor the efficiency of iPSC induction. The chemically defined culture conditions described herein are not perfect serum replacements, but can be used for the safe establishment of iPSCs and will find utility in applications for cell-based regenerative medicine.