Gene linked with tooth healing identified

Henrietta Strickland
August 13, 2019

One of the first things people notice about you is your smile. However, new research from the University of Plymouth believes the key to the future of tooth fix may come from stem cells.

When fully developed and realized, such stem cell treatments could one day provide a novel solution to tooth fix, trauma treatment, and tackling tooth decay.

Now an worldwide team of researchers has found a mechanism that could offer a potential novel solution to tooth fix. This also includes your damaged tooth. Stem cells are so important that in the future they could be used in laboratories to regenerate tissues that have been damaged or lost due to disease, said researchers.

This gene can enhance stem cell activation and tissue regeneration in tooth wound healing models; though additional research is required to validate their findings and ascertain treatment duration and dose, this mechanism may be a novel solution for tooth fix to deal with tooth decay, crumbling, and trauma treatments.

The team of researchers, led by Dr Bing Hu from the University of Plymouth's Peninsula Dental School, studied the genes and signaling molecules responsible for the regeneration of teeth in mice and think they may have cracked how to regrow teeth entirely in the "natural way".

Further studies need to take place to validate the findings for clinical applications, in order to ascertain the appropriate treatment duration and dose, but these early steps in an animal model are exciting, as Dr Hu explains. For the uninitiated, mesenchymal stem cells are the stem cells that make up the skeletal tissues of muscles and bones.

Molecular biologists claim to have pinpointed the gene Dlk1 as being responsible for stem cell activation, tissue regeneration, and tooth healing and regeneration in mice, paving the way for huge breakthroughs in the field of human regenerative medicine.

During the study, the researchers also showed that Dlk1 can enhance stem cell activation and tissue regeneration in a tooth wound healing model. More research will be conducted to better understand and refine potential tooth treatments.

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