FEFU scientists may have found way to grow new teeth for patients
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia: A group of histologists and dentists from the Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) have collaborated with Russian and Japanese colleagues and discovered cells that may be responsible for the formation of human dental tissue. The findings could provide a basis for the development of bioengineering techniques in dentistry aimed at growing new dental tissue.
The scientists used human prenatal tissue to study the early stage of development of the embryonic oral cavity during the fifth and the sixth week of tooth formation. They recognised several types of cells that are involved in the formation of one of the tooth rudiments, namely the enamel organ. Additionally, they identified the chromophobe cells responsible for the development of human teeth in the first weeks of embryo growth.
“Numerous attempts to grow teeth from only the stem cells involved in the development of enamel, dentin and pulp, i.e. ameloblasts and odontoblasts, were not successful: there was no enamel on the samples, teeth were covered only by defective dentin. The absence of an easily accessible source of cells for growing dental tissue seriously restricts the development of a bioengineering approach to dental treatment. To develop technologies of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, promising methods of treatment in dentistry, the cells identified by us may become the clue to the new level of quality dental treatment,” said Dr Ivan Reva, senior researcher in the Laboratory for Cell and Molecular Neurobiology at the FEFU’s School of Biomedicine.
“Natural implants that are completely identical to human teeth will no doubt be better than titanium ones, and their lifespan can be longer than that of artificial ones, which are guaranteed for 10–15 years. Although for a successful experiment, we still have a lack of knowledge about intercellular signalling interactions during the teeth development,” he added.
The scientist noted that large chromophobe cells do not reside only where the teeth of the embryo form. They also exist at the border where the multilayered squamous epithelium of the oral cavity passes into the cylindrical epithelium of the developing digestive tube. This means that the new bioengineering approach is relevant not only for growing new dental tissue but also for growing organs for subsequent transplantation and will probably be applied in gastroenterology.
The scientists have yet to understand how, in the earliest stages of human embryo development, different types and forms of teeth develop from the seemingly homogeneous and multilayered ectoderm which is located in the forming oral cavity. However, it is already clear that more kinds of cells are engaged in the earliest stages of human tooth formation than were previously supposed.
The study, titled “Embryonic development of human teeth”, was published in the March 2019 issue of the International Journal of Applied and Fundamental Research and is only available in Russian.