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Braz Dent J. 2011;22(2):91-8.

Mesenchymal stem cells in the dental tissues: perspectives for tissue regeneration.

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Dental School, Federal University of Goiás, Goiânia, GO, Brazil.


In recent years, stem cell research has grown exponentially owing to the recognition that stem cell-based therapies have the potential to improve the life of patients with conditions that range from Alzheimer's disease to cardiac ischemia and regenerative medicine, like bone or tooth loss. Based on their ability to rescue and/or repair injured tissue and partially restore organ function, multiple types of stem/progenitor cells have been speculated. Growing evidence demonstrates that stem cells are primarily found in niches and that certain tissues contain more stem cells than others. Among these tissues, the dental tissues are considered a rich source of mesenchymal stem cells that are suitable for tissue engineering applications. It is known that these stem cells have the potential to differentiate into several cell types, including odontoblasts, neural progenitors, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and adipocytes. In dentistry, stem cell biology and tissue engineering are of great interest since may provide an innovative for generation of clinical material and/or tissue regeneration. Mesenchymal stem cells were demonstrated in dental tissues, including dental pulp, periodontal ligament, dental papilla, and dental follicle. These stem cells can be isolated and grown under defined tissue culture conditions, and are potential cells for use in tissue engineering, including, dental tissue, nerves and bone regeneration. More recently, another source of stem cell has been successfully generated from human somatic cells into a pluripotent stage, the induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells), allowing creation of patient- and disease-specific stem cells. Collectively, the multipotency, high proliferation rates, and accessibility make the dental stem cell an attractive source of mesenchymal stem cells for tissue regeneration. This review describes new findings in the field of dental stem cell research and on their potential use in the tissue regeneration.

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