Isolation and Functional Analysis of an Immortalized Murine Cementocyte Cell Line, IDG-CM6

Ning Zhao, Francisco H. Nociti, Peipei Duan, Matthew Prideaux, Hong Zhao, Brian L. Foster, Martha J. Somerman, Lynda F. Bonewald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The dental cementum covering the tooth root is similar to bone in several respects but remains poorly understood in terms of development and differentiation of cementoblasts, as well as the potential function(s) of cementocytes residing in the cellular cementum. It is not known if the cementocyte is a dynamic actor in cementum metabolism, comparable to the osteocyte in the bone. Cementocytes exhibit irregular spacing and lacunar shape, with fewer canalicular connections compared with osteocytes. Immunohistochemistry and quantitative PCR (qPCR) revealed that the in vivo expression profile of cementocytes paralleled that of osteocytes, including expression of dentin matrix protein 1 (Dmp1/DMP1), Sost/sclerostin, E11/gp38/podoplanin, Tnfrsf11b (osteoprotegerin [OPG]), and Tnfsf11 (receptor activator of NF-κB ligand [RANKL]). We used the Immortomouse+/-; Dmp1-GFP+/- mice to isolate cementocytes as Dmp1-expressing cells followed by immortalization using the interferon (IFN)-γ-inducible promoter driving expression of a thermolabile large T antigen to create the first immortalized line of cementocytes, IDG-CM6. This cell line reproduced the expression profile of cementocytes observed in vivo, including alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralization. IDG-CM6 cells expressed higher levels of Tnfrsf11b and lower levels of Tnfsf11 compared with IDG-SW3 osteocytes, and under fluid flow shear stress, IDG-CM6 cells significantly increased OPG while decreasing RANKL, leading to a significantly increased OPG/RANKL ratio, which would inhibit osteoclast activation. These studies indicate similarities yet potentially important differences in the function of cementocytes compared with osteocytes and support cementocytes as mechanically responsive cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-442
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Bone and Mineral Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016


  • IDG-CM6
  • OPG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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