Regenerative treatment approach for broken teeth
Caries in the tooth is no longer reversible, and a broken tooth cannot grow back. Today's dentistry compensates for such damage through artificial materials. However, the situation is very different for mice. Your front teeth can grow back if they are damaged. An international research team has now deciphered the mechanism responsible for this regeneration. The researchers believe it is possible to use this ability for humans as well.
An international team of scientists with the participation of the Technical University of Dresden found a new type of tooth repair based on the regenerative forces of mouse teeth. The research group identified the genetic processes that lead to tooth regrowth. This opens up a whole new path in dentistry that could cure tooth decay and other damage. The study results were recently presented in the renowned journal "Nature Communications".
Teeth are just cells
Stem cells are cells that can transform into specialized cells. This principle counts for all cell types in the body, including teeth. While human teeth are not designed to regrow, this is normal for some species such as rodents and sharks. But how do you decide whether a tooth has this ability or not? This riddle has now been solved in an international study.
How can mouse teeth revolutionize dentistry?
The research team discovered specialized cells in the front teeth of mice that are responsible for the formation of dentin. Dentine is the hard tissue that gives teeth strength. In the mice, these cells ensure that the front teeth grow back when they are worn out. As the researchers found, the cells in the mouse teeth are so-called mesenchymal stromal cells. If these cells are activated, they send a signal to the mother cells of the tissue and thus trigger a new production of cells.
Genes control the healing process
According to the study, the gene Dlk1 is particularly involved in this process. The same gene also controls tissue regeneration in the wound healing process. As the research team reports, activating this gene is a potential approach to human tooth repair, such as tooth decay, chalk teeth, and broken teeth. This gene may also accelerate wound healing. However, this must first be validated in a clinical study. If the concept is confirmed in humans, human teeth could soon also regenerate. (vb)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Graduate editor (FH) Volker Blasek
- Technische Universität Dresden: Tooth repair completely different? Scientists discover mechanism that could change the dental treatment of the future (accessed: 09.08.2019), tu-dresden.de
- Walker. Jemma Victoria / Zhuang, Heng / Hu, Bing / u .: Transit amplifying cells coordinate mouse incisor mesenchymal stem cell activation, Nature Communications, 2019, nature.com