Hirschsprung’s disease is a congenital entero-neuropathy that causes chronic constipation and intestinal obstruction. New treatments for entero-neuropathy are needed because current surgical strategies have limitations5. Entero-neuropathy results from enteric nervous system dysfunction due to incomplete colonization of the distal intestine by neural crest-derived cells. Impaired cooperation between the enteric nervous system and intestinal pacemaker cells may also contribute to entero-neuropathy. Stem cell therapy to repair these multiple defects represents a novel treatment approach. Dental pulp stem cells derived from deciduous teeth (dDPSCs) are multipotent cranial neural crest-derived cells, but it remains unknown whether dDPSCs have potential as a new therapy for entero-neuropathy. Here we show that intravenous transplantation of dDPSCs into the Japanese Fancy-1 mouse, an established model of hypoganglionosis and entero-neuropathy, improves large intestinal structure and function and prolongs survival. Intravenously injected dDPSCs migrate to affected regions of the intestine through interactions between stromal cell-derived factor-1α and C-X-C chemokine receptor type-4. Transplanted dDPSCs differentiate into both pacemaker cells and enteric neurons in the proximal colon to improve electrical and peristaltic activity, in addition to their paracrine effects. Our findings indicate that transplanted dDPSCs can differentiate into different cell types to correct entero-neuropathy-associated defects.
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