Establishment of Hertwig’s Epithelial Root Sheath/ Epithelial Rests of Malassez Cell Line from Human Periodontium

Hyun Nam1, Ji-Hye Kim, Jae-Won Kim, Byoung-Moo Seo, Joo-Cheol Park, Jung-Wook Kim, and Gene Lee
Source: Mol Cell
Publication Date: (2014)
Issue: 37(7): 562-567
Research Area:
Basic Research
Cells used in publication:
Epithelial, tooth root sheath (HERS)
Species: human
Tissue Origin:
Human Hertwig's epithelial root sheath/epithelial rests of Malassez (HERS/ERM) cells are epithelial remnants of teeth residing in the periodontium. Although the functional roles of HERS/ERM cells have yet to be elucidated, they are a unique epithelial cell population in adult teeth and are reported to have stem cell characteristics. Therefore, HERS/ERM cells might play a role as an epithelial component for the repair or regeneration of dental hard tissues; however, they are very rare population in periodontium and the primary isolation of them is considered to be difficult. To overcome these problems, we immortalized primary HERS/ERM cells isolated from human periodontium using SV40 large T antigen (SV40 LT) and performed a characterization of the immortalized cell line. Primary HERS/ERM cells could not be maintained for more than 6 passages; however, immortalized HERS/ERM cells were maintained for more than 20 passages. There were no differences in the morphological and immunophenotypic characteristics of HERS/ERM cells and immortalized HERS/ERM cells. The expression of epithelial stem cell and embryonic stem cell markers was maintained in immortalized HERS/ERM cells. Moreover, immortalized HERS/ERM cells could acquire mesenchymal phenotypes through the epithelial-mesenchymal transition via TGF-ß1. In conclusion, we established an immortalized human HERS/ERM cell line with SV40 LT and expect this cell line to contribute to the understanding of the functional roles of HERS/ERM cells and the tissue engineering of teeth.