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Alligator stem cell study gives clues to tooth regeneration
Date:5/14/2013

he dental laminain different developmental stages. The tooth units are structured to enable a smooth transition from dislodgement of the functional, mature tooth to replacement with the new tooth. Identifying three developmental phases for each tooth unit, the researchers conclude that the alligator dental laminae contain what appear to be stem cells from which new replacement teeth develop.

"Stem cells divide more slowly than other cells," said co-author Randall B. Widelitz, Ph.D., associate professor of pathology at the Keck School of Medicine. "The cells in the alligator's dental lamina behaved like we would expect stem cells to behave. In the future, we hope to isolate those cells from the dental lamina to see whether we can use them to regenerate teeth in the lab."

The researchers also intend to learn what molecular networks are involved in repetitive renewal and hope to apply the principles to regenerative medicine in the future.

The authors also report novel cellular mechanisms by which the tooth unit develops in the embryo and molecular signaling that speeds growth of replacement teeth when functional teeth are lost prematurely. Co-authors include colleagues from the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, University of Georgia, National Cheng Kung University, National Taiwan University, and Xiangya Hospital in China. The research was supported by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases through grants 5R01AR042177-19, 5R01AR060306-03 and 2R01AR047364-11A1.


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Contact: Alison Trinidad
alison.trinidad@usc.edu
323-442-3941
University of Southern California - Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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