Often, when you think about mice, you cringe at the thought of the pesky rodents invading your home. You never expect them to play a role in the future of your health. However, they may now have a key impact on restoring your health due to new insights regarding tissue regeneration using the teeth of mice. Using stem cells, there is now new hope in regenerating tissues with your dentist thanks to the rodents.
New Future with Mouse Teeth
A recent study published in Cell Stem Cell by Jimmy Hu, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher in the Klein Laboratory, found that the secret to regenerating tissue may be located in the front tooth of a mouse. During his research, he found that signals from surrounding tissues can trigger dental stem cells. As a result, they leave their dormmate state to promote the growth of mature tooth tissue.
Mice were chosen to be a part of the study due to their incisors. With their teeth used for gnawing, burrowing, and self-defense, they are easily worn down. However, they regenerate thanks to a pool of stem cells that are located within their jaws. This creates a constant buildup behind the incisors to push new growth forward.
What does this mean for the future of our dental health? Well, as we age, our teeth are worn away from daily use. Eventually, it can lead to tooth loss because humans are among one of the species that cannot regenerate new teeth. However, using the information discovered about mice and their tissue growth, it is hoped that stem cells can one day be used to prompt new tooth development.
Using the results of the study, researchers found that proteins that sit on cell membranes and connect the internal skeleton of cells to a larger protein structure can trigger a signal within the stem cell. As a result, they begin to rapidly multiply though a process called proliferation.
While it remains unclear how the stem cells are triggered, it provides a promising outlook for the future. Not only can oral tissues potentially be regrown, but the same method may be theoretically applied to heal burns, repair heart tissue, or aid with organ transplants. It may even provide a successful form of cancer treatment.
The Future of Dental Health
Although the results of the study are very promising, there is still extensive research that must be performed before this theory can be used in a clinical setting. In the meantime, mouse teeth are paving the way for a brighter future to protect your dental health.