Edition V16N06 | Year 2011 | Editorial Original Article | Pages 111 to 118
Introduction: Stem cells (SCs) are capable of inducing tissue regeneration and are, therefore, potentially therapeutic. Similarly to bone marrow and umbilical cords, dental pulp is one of the available sources of SCs. The fact that these cells are easily accessible and that deciduous teeth are not vital organs, and are normally discarded after exfoliation, make them particularly attractive for use in safety and viability tests. Objective: To describe the collection, isolation and culture of SCs obtained from the pulp of deciduous teeth as well as their characterization by flow cytometry, and the induction of differentiation into osteogenic and adipogenic lineages. Methods: SCs were obtained in a relatively straightforward manner and showed good proliferative capacity, even from a small amount of pulp tissue. Results: Analysis by flow cytometry confirmed the characteristics of mesenchymal SCs with low expression of CD34 and CD45 antigens, which are markers for hematopoietic cells, and high levels of expression of CD105, CD166, CD90 and CD73 antigens, which are markers for mesenchymal SCs. Cell plasticity was confirmed by identifying calcium deposits in cultures that received osteogenic medium, and intracellular lipid accumulation in adipogenic cultures that received adipogenic medium. Conclusions: SCs collected from deciduous teeth show promising potential for application in tissue regeneration. Therefore, it is important that knowledge about the existence and characteristics of this source of stem cells be disseminated among dentists and that the technique, its limitations and possible indications are highlighted and discussed.