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Researchers find way to multiply teeth

By Tim Sandle     Dec 29, 2015 in Science
Tokyo - Teeth can be multiplied, according to a new study. Scientists were able to use germ-cells and develop these into fully functional teeth, in a proof-of-concept study.
In pioneering research, scientists have succeeded in multiplying teeth. Carrying out a study in mice, researchers managed to extract teeth germs. These are groups of cells formed early in life that later develop into teeth. On extracting these, the researchers divided the cells into two, and then implanted the proto-teeth into the jaws of mice. In time the cells developed into two fully functional teeth.
To achieve this, researchers studied tooth development. They found teeth development occurs through a pattern of gene expression involving Lef1, an activator, and Ectodin, an inhibitor. Researchers found success by manipulating this process in tooth germs. The tooth germ is an aggregation of cells that eventually forms a tooth.
Tooth decay (dental caries) is a major illness in the developed world, associated with diets rich in sugar. The disease describes the breakdown of teeth due to activities of bacteria. The condition can lead to inflammation of the tissue around the tooth, tooth loss, and infection or abscess formation.
Once a tooth from an adult has been lost, it is gone for good. The ability to re-grow a tooth is something of interest to the medical profession and a goal of regenerative medicine. Now success has been achieved with mice, similar studies will be attempted using other animals with the long term goal of re-growing teeth in people.
The study was performed at the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Japan. The findings are published in the journal Scientific Reports, in a paper titled "Functional tooth restoration utilising split germs through re-regionalisation of the tooth-forming field."
More about Teeth, gums, Mice, Bones, Enamel
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