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Stem Cells International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 2582080, 14 pages
Research Article

The Angiogenic Potential of DPSCs and SCAPs in an In Vivo Model of Dental Pulp Regeneration

Laboratory of Morphology, Biomedical Research Institute (BIOMED), Hasselt University, Diepenbeek, Belgium

Correspondence should be addressed to Petra Hilkens; eb.tlessahu@sneklih.artep

Received 26 April 2017; Revised 4 July 2017; Accepted 13 July 2017; Published 5 September 2017

Academic Editor: Gerald A. Colvin

Copyright © 2017 Petra Hilkens et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adequate vascularization, a restricting factor for the survival of engineered tissues, is often promoted by the addition of stem cells or the appropriate angiogenic growth factors. In this study, human dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) and stem cells from the apical papilla (SCAPs) were applied in an in vivo model of dental pulp regeneration in order to compare their regenerative potential and confirm their previously demonstrated paracrine angiogenic properties. 3D-printed hydroxyapatite scaffolds containing DPSCs and/or SCAPs were subcutaneously transplanted into immunocompromised mice. After twelve weeks, histological and ultrastructural analysis demonstrated the regeneration of vascularized pulp-like tissue as well as mineralized tissue formation in all stem cell constructs. Despite the secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor in vitro, the stem cell constructs did not display a higher vascularization rate in comparison to control conditions. Similar results were found after eight weeks, which suggests both osteogenic/odontogenic differentiation of the transplanted stem cells and the promotion of angiogenesis in this particular setting. In conclusion, this is the first study to demonstrate the successful formation of vascularized pulp-like tissue in 3D-printed scaffolds containing dental stem cells, emphasizing the promising role of this approach in dental tissue engineering.