Wisdom teeth could be stem cell source

Washington, Sep 11 (ANI): Is wisdom teeth just an annoyance for you? Well, its time to change your opinion, for according to researchers, wisdom teeth contain a valuable reservoir of tissue for the creation of stem cells.

This means that everyone might be carrying around his or her own personal stem-cell repository in case of need.

A team of scientists at Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology may have found an ideal source of induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells)- third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth.

The soft pulp inside of teeth contains a population of cells known as mesenchymal stromal cells that are similar to cells found in bone marrow, a common stem-cell source.

However, unlike bone marrow, tooth pulp is more easily obtained, especially in wisdom teeth, which most individuals have removed anyway.

The researchers, led by Hajime Ohgushi, collected tooth samples from three donors and managed to generate a series of iPS cell lines following the similar procedure of activating three key genes.

The different cell lines displayed varying degrees of robustness but in some cases proliferated quite well, up to 100 times more efficiently than typical skin-cell-derived iPS cells.

The molar-derived cells also could differentiate into many other cell types including beating cardiomyocytes (see an attached movie), as expected.

The presence of a supply of MSCs in wisdom teeth could have meaningful therapeutic ramifications.

As noted by the researchers and others, wisdom tooth extraction is a common medical procedure in developed nations and, thus, creates a perfect opportunity to remove biological material in a sterilized setting.

The teeth subsequently can be frozen and stored for many years until needed. In the meantime, that also provides time for researchers to better understand the details of iPS creation to further increase the efficiency for clinical use.

The study appears in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. (ANI)

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