According to research published in the Journal of Dental Research, a team from King’s College London took cells from adult human gum tissue and combined them with cells from fetal mice molars to grow a tooth with viable roots. The method is still far from clinical uses but this research represents the possibility of bioengineered teeth.
Teeth develop when embryonic epithelial cells in the mouth combine with mesenchymal cells derived from the neural crest. A team lead by King’s College London stem cell biologist Paul Sharpe extracted epithelial cells from the adult human gums, cultured them in the lab and mixed them with mesenchymal tooth cells derived from embryonic mice. After a week, the researchers transplanted this mixture into the protective tissue around the kidneys of living mice, where some of the cells developed into hybrid human/mouse teeth containing dentine and enamel, and with growing roots.
The research showed that the epithelial cells from adult human gum tissue responded to tooth-inducing signals from the embryonic mouse tooth mesenchyme, making the gum cells a possibility for clinical use.
“”This advance here is we have identified a cell population you could envisage using in the clinic. We are now working to try and identify a simple way of getting mesenchyme. The next major challenge is to identify a way to culture adult human mesenchymal cells to be tooth-inducing, as at the moment we can only make embryonic mesenchymal cells do this.” said Sharpe.
Via: BBC News