Dental Pulp Stem Cells Transformed by Halitosis Chemical

Japanese scientists have found that the odorous compound responsible for halitosis (bad breath) is ideal for harvesting stem cells taken from human dental pulp, in a study that was published February 27 in the Journal of Breath Research. They showed that hydrogen sulphide (H2S) increased the ability of adult stem cells to differentiate into hepatic (liver) cells. This is the first time that liver cells have been produced from human dental pulp. Also, the cells have been produced in high numbers of high purity, meaning there are less "wrong cells" that are being differentiated to other tissues, or remaining as stem cells. These facts suggest that patients undergoing transplantation with the liver cells may have almost no possibility of developing teratomas or cancers, as can be the case when using bone marrow stem cells, said lead author Dr. Ken Yaegaki. The researchers used stem cells from dental pulp obtained from dental patients who were undergoing routine tooth extractions. Once prepared, the cells were separated into a test and a control group. The test group cells incubated in a H2S chamber, then were harvested and analyzed via a series of tests after 3, 6, and 9 days to see if the cells had features that were characteristic of liver cells. In addition to physical observations under the microscope, they investigated the cells' ability to store glycogen and then recorded the amount of urea contained in each cell.
Hydrogen sulphide (H2S) has the characteristic smell of rotten eggs and is produced throughout the body in the tissues. Although its exact function is unknown, researchers have been led to believe that it plays a key role in many physiological processes and disease states.
(Source: ScienceDaily, February 27, 2012)