Objectives: To test the potential stimulatory effect of local application of periodontal ligament (PDL) stromal cells on soft tissue regeneration. Materials and Methods: Fluorescently labeled PDL cells outgrown from extracted human premolars or phosphate-buffered saline were locally injected to the cutaneous wounds created on mice. Soft tissue regeneration was evaluated for 14 days using photographs and histomorphometry. PDL cell engraftment was tracked with confocal microscopy. To detect the paracrine effect of the PDL cells on soft tissue regeneration, PDL cell-conditioned medium (CM) was evaluated for the concentration of secretory factors, transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGFβ1). The effect of PDL CM on the proliferation and migration of dermal fibroblast and keratinocyte was tested using MTT assay and migration assay. Results: The application of PDL cells significantly promoted soft tissue regeneration compared with the application of PBS. Self-replicating PDL cells were engrafted into the hair follicles of the host tissue. Dermal fibroblast proliferation and keratinocyte migration were significantly enhanced by the treatment with PDL CM. Physiologically significant amount of TGFβ1 was secreted from PDL cells into the CM. Conclusion: Local injection of PDL cells promoted soft tissue regeneration in part by the enhancement of fibroblast proliferation and keratinocyte migration through a paracrine mechanism.
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