New study identified the gene called Dlk1 that enhances stem cell activation and tissue regeneration to help in tooth healing. The findings of the study are published in the journal Nature Communications.
The study found a mechanism that could offer a potential novel solution for tooth repairing.
Stem cells are so important that in the future they could be used in laboratories to regenerate tissues that have been damaged or lost due to disease, said researchers.
Researchers identified a new population of mesenchymal stem cells -- the stem cells that make up skeletal tissue such as muscle and bone -- in a continuously growing mouse incisor model. They showed that these cells contribute to the formation of tooth dentin -- the hard tissue that covers the main body of a tooth.
The findings showed that when these stem cells are activated, they send signals back to the mother cells of the tissue to control the number of cells produced, through a molecular gene called Dlk1.
During the study, the researchers also showed that Dlk1 could enhance stem cell activation and tissue regeneration in a tooth wound healing model. This mechanism could provide a novel solution for tooth reparation, dealing with problems such as tooth decay, crumbling, and trauma treatment.
"The work has taken place in lab models at this stage, and further work needs to be done before we can bring them to human use. But it's a really big breakthrough in regenerative medicine that could have huge implications for patients in future," Hu added.