Ecto-mesenchymal stem cells from dental pulp are committed to differentiate into active melanocytes

Francesca Paino, Giulia Ricci, Alfredo De Rosa, Riccardo D'Aquino, Luigi Laino, Giuseppe Pirozzi, Virginia Tirino, Gianpaolo Papaccio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) are multipotent stem cells derived from neural crest and mesenchyme and have the capacity to differentiate into multiple cell lineages. It has already been demonstrated that DPSCs differentiate into melanocyte-like cells but only when cultivated in a specific melanocyte differentiating medium. In this study we have shown, for the first time, that DPSCs are capable of spontaneously differentiating into mature melanocytes, which display molecular and ultrastructural features of full development, including the expression of melanocyte specific markers and the presence of melanosomes up to the terminal stage of maturation. We have also compared the differentiating features of DPSCs grown in different culture conditions, following the timing of differentiation at molecular and cytochemical levels and found that in all culture conditions full development of these cells was obtained, although at different times. The spontaneous differentiating potential of these cells strongly suggests their possible applications in regenerative medicine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-305
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Cells and Materials
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010


  • Dental pulp stem cells
  • Differentiation
  • L-Dopa
  • Melanocytes
  • Melanosomes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Medicine(all)


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