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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Postnatal stem/progenitor cells derived from the dental pulp of adult chimpanzee

Pei-Hsun Cheng12, Brooke Snyder12, Dimitri Fillos134, Chris C Ibegbu134, Anderson Hsien-Cheng Huang7 and Anthony WS Chan1256*

Author Affiliations

1 Neuroscience Division, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, USA

2 Department of Human Genetics, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, USA

3 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, USA

4 Emory Vaccine Center, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Atlanta, USA

5 Genetics and Molecular Biology Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, USA

6 Neuroscience Program, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, USA

7 Grace Dental Clinic, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan, PRoC

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BMC Cell Biology 2008, 9:20  doi:10.1186/1471-2121-9-20

Published: 22 April 2008



Chimpanzee dental pulp stem/stromal cells (ChDPSCs) are very similar to human bone marrow derived mesenchymal stem/stromal cells (hBMSCs) as demonstrated by the expression pattern of cell surface markers and their multipotent differentiation capability.


ChDPSCs were isolated from an incisor and a canine of a forty-seven year old female chimpanzee. A homogenous population of ChDPSCs was established in early culture at a high proliferation rate and verified by the expression pattern of thirteen cell surface markers. The ChDPSCs are multipotent and were capable of differentiating into osteogenic, adipogenic and chondrogenic lineages under appropriate in vitro culture conditions. ChDPSCs also express stem cell (Sox-2, Nanog, Rex-1, Oct-4) and osteogenic (Osteonectin, osteocalcin, osteopontin) markers, which is comparable to reported results of rhesus monkey BMSCs (rBMSCs), hBMSCs and hDPSCs. Although ChDPSCs vigorously proliferated during the initial phase and gradually decreased in subsequent passages, the telomere length indicated that telomerase activity was not significantly reduced.


These results demonstrate that ChDPSCs can be efficiently isolated from post-mortem teeth of adult chimpanzees and are multipotent. Due to the almost identical genome composition of humans and chimpanzees, there is an emergent need for defining the new role of chimpanzee modeling in comparative medicine. Teeth are easy to recover at necropsy and easy to preserve prior to the retrieval of dental pulp for stem/stromal cells isolation. Therefore, the establishment of ChDPSCs would preserve and maximize the applications of such a unique and invaluable animal model, and could advance the understanding of cellular functions and differentiation control of adult stem cells in higher primates.