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Chin J Dent Res. 2010;13(2):95-103.

Dental application potential of mesenchymal stromal cells and embryonic stem cells.

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Stem Cell Laboratory, Faculty of Dentistry, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


In the past decade, research on the potential applications of stem cells in dentistry has made great progress. There are at least five different types of multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) originating from exfoliated primary teeth, including dental pulp, apica papilla, periodontal ligament, and dental follicle. It has been reported that dental tissue-derived MSCs are able to generate dentine-pulp-like complexes as well as differentiate into periodontal and craniofacial progenitor cells. Similar to these dental tissue-derived MSCs, bone marrowderived MSCs are also capable of developing into ameloblasts, odontoblasts and periodontal ligament progenitor cells, as well as regenerating cementum, alveolar bone, craniofacial bone and articular condyles. Besides adult stem cells, embryonic stem cells are an alternative cell source for dental tissue regeneration, but the current data are preliminary and are based predominantly on in vitro data. In addition to these commonly reported stem cells, other progenitor cells with MSC properties are also found in salivary glands, tongue muscle, taste buds and oral mucosa, and these may play a role in recovering the function of the residing tissues. Other than these regenerative applications, many reports have demonstrated the utility of these stem cells in cytotoxicity testing, biocompatibility testing and developmental research. The present article summarises the above findings regarding the regenerative and other potential applications of both MSCs and embryonic stem cells.

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