Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Teasing Out New Teeth

Researchers have been able to successfully combine cells from human gum tissue and combine it with cells from the molars of fetal mice to form teeth with viable roots. This accomplishment indicates a great improvement in our ability to bioengineer new teeth for people who have lost their original ones. It has been established that when embryonic epithelial cells in the mouth are combined with mesenchymal cells from the neural crest, normal teeth develop. The reason this research is so important is because it uses a non-embryonic source of cells that may be used clinically.

            A stem cell biologist, Paul Sharpe, was able to successfully extract epithelial cells from the gums of adult humans and mix them with mesenchymal tooth cells from embryonic mice and later transplant this mixture to tissues around the kidneys of living mice where the cell mixture sometimes developed into a hybrid of human and mouse teeth that contained growing roots. This research proves that epithelial cells from adult human gum tissue are able to respond to signals from mouse tooth mesenchyme to create teeth. This means that gum cells are a possible source for clinical production of replacement teeth.

This article was interesting to me because I know a lot of the aging population unfortunately are not able to keep their teeth for the duration of their life, but if we were able to replace lost teeth, people would not be at a disadvantage if their own original teeth were lost.



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