The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 55: 59 - 64 (2011)

Vol 55, Issue 1

Contribution of mesoderm to the developing dental papilla

Original Article | Published: 17 February 2011

Michaela Rothová1,2,3, Jifan Feng1, Paul T. Sharpe1, Renata Peterková2 and Abigail S. Tucker*,1

1Department of Craniofacial Development and Orthodontics, King's College London, London, UK, 2Institute of Experimental Medicine, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, v.v.i., Prague and 3Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic


Teeth develop from epithelium and neural crest-derived mesenchyme via a series of reciprocal epithelial-mesenchymal interactions. The majority of the dental papilla of the tooth has been demonstrated to be of neural crest origin. However, non-neural crest cells have also been observed in this region from the bud stage of tooth development onwards. The number of these non-neural crest-derived cells rises as the dental papilla develops. However, their origin is unknown. We have followed migration of cells into the tooth in vitro using DiI to fate map regions surrounding the developing tooth. To identify the contribution of mesodermally-derived cells, we have utilised Mesp1cre/R26R transgenic reporter mice. We document that cells outside the early tooth primordium migrate into the developing dental papilla from the late cap stage of development. Here, we show that migrating cells are mesodermally-derived and create a network of endothelial cells, forming the blood vessels of the tooth. No cells of mesodermal origin were present in the condensed mesenchyme surrounding the dental epithelium until the cap stage of tooth development. Mesodermally-derived cells start invading the dental papilla at the late cap stage, providing the blood supply to the dental pulp. Endothelial cells are able to invade the developing dental papilla in vitro using the slice culture method. Understanding the origin and timing of migration of the mesodermally-derived cells is an important advance in our understanding of how a tooth develops and is particularly relevant to studies which aim to create bioengineered teeth.


tooth, dental papilla, Mesp1cre, mesoderm, endothelial cells

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