During embryonic organogenesis, the odontogenic potential resides in dental mesenchyme from the bud stage until birth. Mouse dental mesenchymal cells (mDMCs) isolated from the inductive dental mesenchyme of developing molars are frequently used in the context of tooth development and regeneration. We wondered if and how the odontogenic potential could be retained when mDMCs were cultured in vitro. In the present study, we undertook to test the odontogenic potential of cultured mDMCs and attempted to maintain the potential during culturing. We found that cultured mDMCs could retain the odontogenic potential for 24 h with a ratio of 60% for tooth formation, but mDMCs were incapable of supporting tooth formation after more than 24 h in culture. This loss of odontogenic potential was accompanied by widespread transcriptomic alteration and, specifically, the downregulation of some dental mesenchyme-specific genes, such as Pax9, Msx1, and Pdgfrα. To prolong the odontogenic potential of mDMCs in vitro, we then cultured mDMCs in a serum-free medium with Knockout Serum Replacement (KSR) and growth factors (fibroblastic growth factor 2 and epidermal growth factor). In this new micromilieu, mDMCs could maintain the odontogenic potential for 48 h with tooth formation ratio of 50%. Moreover, mDMCs cultured in KSR-supplemented medium gave rise to tooth-like structures when recombined with non-dental secondarch epithelium. Among the supplements, KSR is essential for the survival and adhesion of mDMCs, and both Egf and Fgf2 induced the expression of certain dental mesenchymerelated genes. Taken together, our results demonstrated that the transcriptomic changes responded to the alteration of odontogenic potential in cultured mDMCs and a new micromilieu partly retained this potential in vitro, providing insight into the long-term maintenance of odontogenic potential in mDMCs.
Zheng, Y., Cai, J., Hutchins, A. P., Jia, L., Liu, P., Yang, D., … Wei, S. (2016). Remission for loss of odontogenic potential in a new micromilieu in vitro. PLoS ONE, 11(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152893