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Publication Date



UM campus only

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Biomedical Engineering (Engineering)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Chun Yuh Charles Huang - Committee Member

Second Committee Member

Herman S Cheung - Mentor

Third Committee Member

Evangelos Badiavas - Outside Committee Member


The goal of this study is to assess the osteogenic potential of two types of dental stem cell lines within a tissue engineering application. More specifically, the goal of this study is to find a readily abundant cell source with capacity to express an osteogenic phenotype. There are two parameters utilized to evaluate tissue engineering potential of cells: proliferation rate and differentiation potential. Briefly, proliferation rate is the speed at which cells divide and differentiation potential determines if cells are capable of committing towards specific lineages (e.g. osteogenic). These components are important, because if cells are not expanding at a specific rate and are not differentiating towards the lineage desired, the tissue engineered will not mirror the characteristics of native tissue. Therefore, both components are necessary for osteogenic tissue engineering applications. Several stem cell lines have been isolated from different sources (e.g. umbilical, bone marrow) and characterized for their proliferative capacity and their potency. Among these progenitor or stem cell lines, are those isolated from human dental tissue. Due to the similarities between teeth and bone, this specific cell line may be useful in osteogenic tissue engineering applications. In this study, stem cells extracted from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHEDs) and periodontal ligament stem cells (PERIOs), were evaluated and compared. Briefly, to evaluate the proliferation rate an ex-vivo expansion study was conducted. This experiment found that both SHEDs and PERIOs were proliferative lines with doubling times of 23 hours and 19 hours respectively. Subsequently, osteogenic differentiation of SHEDs and PERIOs was assessed utilizing a 3-D fibrin gel suspension treated with osteogenic media containing either dexamethasone (DEX) or Retinoic Acid (RA) for 28 days. At day 28, osteogenic markers for collagen 1 (Col1), osteocalcin (OCN), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) were evaluated using qPCR. Results demonstrated both SHEDs and PERIOs exhibited significant (p<0.05) increases in osteogenic gene expression under the influences of DEX and RA. However the most significant increases were expressed by the SHEDs that received the DEX treatment. Additionally, the synergistic ability of TGF-beta 3 on the osteogenic differentiation of the stem cells was evaluated. Cells were cultured in a 3-D fibrin gel suspension and allowed to differentiate in DEX osteogenic media with and without the supplementation of TGF-beta 3 for 21 days. Using qPCR the cells were evaluated for expression of Col1, OCN, and ALP. In both the SHEDs and PERIOs, the samples treated with TGF-beta 3 the osteogenic gene expression increased in reference to the control, but had a hindering effect compared to cells treated in DEX without the TGF-beta 3. These results from this study suggested, SHED cells grown in 3-D fibrin gel suspension, may be better than PERIO cells for osteogenic tissue engineering applications when treated with DEX media without the supplementation of TGF-beta 3.


Bone Grafts; Retinoic Acid Induced Osteogenesis; Tissue Engineering; TGF-beta 3 Induced Osteogenesis; Dexamethasone Induced Osteogenesis; Osteogenesis; Dental-derived Stem Cells