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This recent research into regenerative endodontics is only the beginning, according to researchers. The ultimate goal is to develop a novel therapeutic solution for dental pulp regeneration. Here, Dr Qiting Huang, who participated in the study, is showcasing tissue-derived decellularized matrix hydrogel. (Image: Sun Yat-sen University)

Decellularised matrix hydrogel may promote dental pulp regeneration

By Dental Tribune International
November 09, 2020

GUANGZHOU, China: Dental pulp regeneration has been a great challenge to researchers in the field of endodontics for decades. It has been widely regocnised that tissue-engineered biomaterials might be beneficial for endodontic regeneration; however, single-component materials or shape-fixed scaffolds are not able to meet the requirements for multifunctional dental pulp regrowth. Inspired by the clinical use of multiple acellular tissue grafts, researchers in China have become interested in decellularised dental pulp matrix.

In a recent study, scientists from Dr Zhengmei Lin's group at the Affiliated Stomatological Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University, and their collaborators from School of Materials Science and Engineering in Guangzhou developed a decellularised matrix hydrogel (hDDPM-G), derived from human dental pulp, which might be able to serve as a growth-permissive microenvironment for dental pulp regeneration.

In an interview with Dental Tribune International, Dr Ying Bai, who is part of the team that carried out the research, said that the most important requirements were that the biomaterial had to be gel-based, fit into the root canals, form in situ and exhibit bioactivity.

After complete decellularisation was implemented, protein contents found in the human decellularised dental pulp matrix were found to contribute to promoting cell proliferation, migration and regulation of stem-cell differentiation. The results showed that hDDPM-G-coated surfaces promoted hDPSC adhesion, migration and proliferation. Furthermore, hDDPM-G coatings facilitated odontoblast-like, neural-like and angiogenic differentiation of the seeded hDPSCs after being cultured in induction media for 14 days.

“The whole study has been quite challenging, since it pioneers the exploration of endodontic regeneration at the intersection of materials science, biology and medical science,” Bai explained. “Among all the challenges we faced, the preparation of decellularised dental pulp hydrogel was probably the most difficult. The availability of healthy dental pulp is extremely limited—a small amount of hydrogel might be obtained from hundreds of routinely extracted third molars. Moreover, the physical properties of the hydrogel could undergo batch-to-batch variations. Therefore, it is difficult to standardise the fabrication process of such tissue-derived biomaterial; we are still working on it,” he continued.

Looking to the future, Bai and his colleagues are investigating the possibility of developing a novel therapeutic solution for dental pulp regeneration for clinical use in patients. He added: “The reported work was just the beginning of our journey in exploring the biological functions of the decellularised dental pulp matrix hydrogel. Through this work, it is clear that the hDDPM-G could promote multifunctional differentiation of dental pulp stem cells, but we do not yet know why or how. The underlying mechanisms are still to be discovered. However, further work on clinical applications, proper treatments and animal models will be conducted. There might be a long way to go from laboratory to dental clinic, but we hope that this complex but viable biomaterial will be able to inspire more multidisciplinary research in the field of endodontic regeneration.”

The study, titled “A decellularized matrix hydrogel derived from human dental pulp promotes dental pulp stem cell proliferation, migration, and induced multidirectional differentiation in vitro”, was published on 1 October 2020 in the Journal of Endodontics.

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