A team from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University (Massachusetts, USA) is the first to demonstrate the ability to use low-power light to trigger stem cells inside the body to regenerate tissue. David Mooney and colleagues triggered human dental stem cells to form dentin, the hard tissue that is similar to bone and makes up the bulk of teeth. Assessing the formed dentin via high-resolution X-ray imaging and microscopy techniques, the team observed that newly-formed tertiary dentin resulted in the laser-treated teeth than in the control. Further, the team outlined the precise molecular mechanism involved in the process, and demonstrated its capacity using multiple laboratory and animal models. The study authors submit that: “These findings indicate a pivotal role for … dental tissue regeneration. More broadly, this work outlines a mechanistic basis for harnessing resident stem cells with a light-activated endogenous cue for clinical regenerative applications.”
Praveen R. Arany, Andrew Cho, Tristan D. Hunt, Gursimran Sidhu, Kyungsup Shin, David J. Mooney, et al. “Photoactivation of Endogenous Latent Transforming Growth Factor–[beta]1 Directs Dental Stem Cell Differentiation for Regeneration.” Sci Transl Med 28 May 2014; 6:238ra69.
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