The goal of this study was to examine the effects of early and limited exposure of perivascular cells expressing α (αSMA) to fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) in vivo. We performed in vivo fate mapping by inducible Cre-loxP and experimental pulp injury in molars to induce reparative dentinogenesis. Our results demonstrate that early delivery of exogenous FGF2 to exposed pulp led to proliferative expansion of αSMA-tdTomato cells and their accelerated differentiation into odontoblasts. In vivo lineage-tracing experiments showed that the calcified bridge/reparative dentin in FGF2-treated pulps were lined with an increased number of Dspp odontoblasts and devoid of BSP osteoblasts. The increased number of odontoblasts derived from αSMA-tdTomato cells and the formation of reparative dentin devoid of osteoblasts provide in vivo evidence for the stimulatory effects of FGF signaling on odontoblast differentiation from early progenitors in dental pulp.
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