Scientists have for the first time successfully replaced natural teeth in mice with teeth that were created in a Petri dish from single cells. The experiment is described online in Nature Methods.
Takashi Tsuji and colleagues started with the two cell types that develop into a tooth -- mesenchymal and epithelial cells. First they grew each cell type separately to get larger quantities of cells and then injected them into a drop of collagen -- a substance which 'glues' cells together in an organism. The cells developed into a budding tooth with high efficiency, and when transplanted into the cavity of an extracted tooth in a mouse developed normally and showed the same composition and structure as natural teeth.
The authors provide further evidence that this method can be applied to any organ that develops from these cell types by regrowing a follicle that eventually forms a whisker in a mouse.
Takashi Tsuji (Tokyo University of Science, Chiba, Japan)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Methods press release.
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