A group of researchers have made a discovery that could eventually lead to the regrowth of teeth.
A research team in the group of Irma Thesleff at the Institute of Biotechnology in Helsinki, Finland recently discovered a marker for dental stem cells. The discovery was made after locating a transcription factor on the mouse front tooth.
The transcription factor Sox2 is specifically present in the stem cells of the mouse incisor. This tooth grows throughout one’s life thanks to the stem cells located at the base of the tooth.
The research team managed to create a way to record the movement, division and specification of these cells. Sox2 positive stem cells also enable enamel-forming ameloblasts and other lineages of the tooth to exist.
Human teeth are similar to mouse teeth in that the mechanisms to regulate growth is the same, even though human teeth don’t grow continuously. That’s why this could be a pivotal discovery for tooth regeneration.
This finding, however, doesn’t necessarily mean the ability to regenerate tooth is right around the corner. A detailed recipe is necessary and many factors have prevented tooth regeneration from happening at this point in time.