Human gingival fibroblasts: Isolation, characterization, and evaluation of CD146 expression
Bakirly, Samira Diar
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Abstract: Gingival fibroblasts (GFs) that exhibit adult stem cell-like characteristics are known as gingival mesenchymal stem cells (GMSCs). Specific mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) markers have not been identified to distinguish GMSCs from GFs. Recently, the cell surface molecule known as cluster of differentiation (CD) 146 has been identified as a potential MSC surface marker. In the present study, we investigated the differentiation potential of GMSCs based on CD146 expression. GFs were isolated by two techniques: tissue explants or enzymatic digestion. GFs were cultured and expanded then magnetically sorted according to CD146 expression. CD146low and CD146high cells were collected, expanded, and then tested for stem cell markers by flow cytometry as well as osteogenic and chondrogenic differentiation potential. The differentiation of these cells was analyzed after 21 days using histology, immunofluorescence, real-time quantitative PCR (qPCR), and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) to DNA ratio (GAG/DNA) assays. Positive histological staining indicated osteogenic differentiation of all groups regardless of the isolation techniques utilized. However, none of the groups demonstrated chondrogenic differentiation, confirmed by the lack of collagen type II in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of GF aggregates. Our data suggest that identification of gingival stem cells based solely on CD146 is not sufficient to properly carry out translational research using gingival fibroblasts for novel therapeutic methods of treating oral disease.