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Vol. 189, No. 1-4, 2009
Issue release date: December 2008

Enamel Tissue Engineering Using Subcultured Enamel Organ Epithelial Cells in Combination with Dental Pulp Cells

Honda M.J. · Shinmura Y. · Shinohara Y.
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We describe a strategy for the in vitro engineering of enamel tissue using a novel technique for culturing enamel organ epithelial (EOE) cells isolated from the enamel organ using 3T3-J2 cells as a feeder layer. These subcultured EOE cells retain the capacity to produce enamel structures over a period of extended culture. In brief, enamel organs from 6-month-old porcine third molars were dissociated into single cells and subcultured on 3T3-J2 feeder cell layers. These subcultured EOE cells were then seeded onto a collagen sponge in combination with primary dental pulp cells isolated at an early stage of crown formation, and these constructs were transplanted into athymic rats. After 4 weeks, complex enamel-dentin structures were detected in the implants. These results show that our culture technique maintained ameloblast lineage cells that were able to produce enamel in vivo. This novel subculture technique provides an important tool for tooth tissue engineering.

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