Mr. Dangaria continued to explain that the natural surface of the tooth played an essential role in the study. “Our research uncovered the code required to reattach teeth—a combination of natural tooth root surface structure together with periodontal progenitor cells,” he said. To verify that the ligament was formed by the transplanted stem cells and not by the animal’s own cells, stem cells were labeled with green fluorescent protein prior to seeding them on the molars and reinserting the teeth into the animal’s mouth. According to Dr. Tom Diekwisch, director of the Brodie Laboratory, who is senior author on the paper, this is the first progenitor cell-based regeneration of a complete periodontal ligament in which a functional tooth was attached. “Our strategy could be used for replanting teeth that were lost due to trauma or as a novel approach for tooth replacement using tooth-shaped replicas,” said Dr. Diekwisch, who is also professor and head of oral biology at the UIC College of Dentistry.
The study, published in an online issue of Tissue Engineering, was funded by a National Institute of Health grant.
(Source: UIC College of Dentistry news release, September 29, 2010)