Human and Swine Dental Pulp Stem Cells Form a Vascularlike Network after Angiogenic Differentiation in Comparison with Endothelial Cells: A Quantitative Analysis

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The aim of this study was to quantify vascular network formation capacity after angiogenic induction of human and swine dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) in comparison with endothelial cells.


Primary human DPSCs or swine DPSCs were induced in endothelial growth medium for 7 days. The expression of the endothelial marker von Willebrand factor was determined by immunostaining. Induced DPSCs (iDPSCs) and noninduced DPSCs (niDPSCs) were seeded at different cell numbers onto Matrigel (BD Biosciences, San Jose, CA) for vascular network formation assays and analyzed after 4, 8, 12, and 18 hours in comparison with human microvascular endothelial cells (hMECs). Quantitative analysis of vascular tubule formation was performed using ImageJ software (National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD). The vascular network formation was also conducted by coculturing of niDPSCs and iDPSCs.


Von Willebrand factor was detected by immunofluorescence in both niDPSCs and iDPSCs (human and swine). Time-lapse microscopic observation showed that the vascular network was formed by iDPSCs but not niDPSCs. After 4 hours, iDPSCs showed vascular network formation, whereas niDPSCs started to aggregate and formed clusters. Human iDPSCs displayed a similar capacity to form vascular networks in Matrigel compared with hMECs based on quantitative analysis. Swine iDPSCs had a higher capacity compared with human iDPSCs or hMECs (P < .05) in forming the network structures including segments, nodes, and mesh. A coculture experiment showed that human niDPSCs colocalized on the angiogenic tubules and vascular networks that were formed by human iDPSCs.


Our findings indicate that iDPSCs in combination with their noninduced counterparts may be used as a future clinical strategy for enhancing angiogenesis during the process of pulp-dentin regeneration.

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