Stem cells used to reattach teeth with new technique

Thursday, September 30, 2010
Peter Sands

A new approach has been developed to reattach teeth in the jaw using stem cells. The research and testing took place at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). This could be a major advance in the battle to fight gum disease, a serious infection that often leads to tooth loss. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, about 4/5 of U.S. adults suffer from gum disease.
UIC Researchers used stem cells that they obtained from the periodontal ligament of molars extracted from mice. The cells were expanded in an incubator, then seeded on barren rat molars. Subsequently, these stem cell-treated molars were reattached into the rats’ tooth sockets.
The stem cells aligned and even formed new attachments between the tooth and bone. This attached them firmly into the animal's mouth, said Smit Dangaria, who conducted the research. The replanted tooth became surrounded by newly formed periodontal ligament fibers and new cementum. These are the vital ingredients of proper tooth attachment.
Molars replanted without new stem cells were lost or loosely attached and were resorbed, Dangaria stated. Dangaria also said that the natural tooth surface played an essential role in his research.
Dangaria asserts that their research had uncovered the code to reattach teeth, which is a combination of natural tooth root surface structure along with periodontal progenitor cells.
To make sure that the ligament was formed by the transplanted stem cells (not by the animal's own cells) stem cells were marked with green fluorescent protein before seeding them on molars and re-inserting the teeth into the rats’ mouth. This is the first such regeneration of a complete periodontal ligament where a functional tooth was reattached.
The study was published in an online issue of the Tissue Engineering. The research was funded by a National Institutes of Health grant.

Source:  Physorg

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