Over the past 30 years, medical and dental research has attracted a large number of scientists and practitioners working on aspects of great medical importance which involve a combination of genetic and tissue regeneration approaches. These developments in the field of stem cells and tissue engineering have provided medical and dental researchers with new perspectives and given rise to new ideas on how everyday clinical practice can be improved. Many research groups deal with questions such as: How can we help injured tissues and organs to heal? Can lost tissue be regenerated? How can we create strong protocols that apply to all stem cell therapy?
Advanced single-cell sequencing technology used
A team of researchers led by Thimios Mitsiadis, professor at the Institute of Oral Biology at the University of Zurich, and Dr. Andreas Moor, professor at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering at ETH Zurich, has now created the very first single cells. atlas of human teeth. Using advanced single-cell sequencing technology, they were able to distinguish each cell that is part of the dental pulp and periodontium. “Our study provides an unprecedented understanding of the composition of these two tissues, subject to specific dental and bacterial pathologies such as cavities and periodontitis. The dental pulp and the periodontium contain stem cells which have a great potential for regeneration, ”says first co-author Pierfrancesco Pagella, senior researcher in the Mitsiadis team.
The study identified great cellular heterogeneity in the dental pulp and periodontium. Unexpectedly, the team found that the molecular signatures of stem cell populations were very similar. “We believe their different behavior is likely due to their distinctive microenvironment,” Pagella says. The results suggest that microenvironmental specificity is the potential source of the major functional differences of stem cells located in different dental compartments.
New cellular dental therapies are possible
The study demonstrates the complexity of dental tissue and represents a major contribution to a better understanding of the cellular and molecular identity of human dental tissue. “Single-cell approaches can help us understand the interactions of dental pulp and periodontal cells involved in immune responses during bacterial insults. Therefore, single-cell analysis could be useful for diagnostic purposes to support early detection. dental disease, ”latest author Thimios Mitsiadis explains. The results thus open up new avenues for cellular dental therapy approaches.
According to Mitsiadis, these advances in dental research can lead to more appropriate therapies, successful regeneration of damaged parts of teeth and even more precise diagnostic tools for dental pathologies. “These innovations are the consequence of the merger between bioinformatics and modern dentistry,” he concludes.
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