Stem cell contributions to cementoblast differentiation in healthy periodontal ligament and periodontitis

Jing Zhao, Louis Faure, Igor Adameyko, Paul T. Sharpe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Loss of tissue attachment as a consequence of bacterial infection and inflammation represents the main therapeutic target for the treatment of periodontitis. Cementoblasts, the cells that produce the mineralized tissue, cementum, that is responsible for connecting the soft periodontal tissue to the tooth, are a key cell type for maintaining/restoring tissue attachment following disease. Here, we identify two distinct stem cell populations that contribute to cementoblast differentiation at different times. During postnatal development, cementoblasts are formed from perivascular-derived cells expressing CD90 and perivascular-associated cells that express Axin2. During adult homeostasis, only Wnt-responsive Axin2+ cells form cementoblasts but following experimental induction of periodontal disease, CD90+ cells become the main source of cementoblasts. We thus show that different populations of resident stem cells are mobilized at different times and during disease to generate precursors for cementoblast differentiation and thus provide an insight into the targeting cells resident cells for novel therapeutic approaches. The differentiation of these stem cells into cementoblasts is however inhibited by bacterial products such as lipopolysaccharides, emphasizing that regeneration of periodontal ligament soft tissue and restoration of attachment will require a multipronged approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • cementoblasts
  • periodontal ligament
  • periodontitis
  • stem cells
  • Wnt signaling


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