Read the JCI article:
"Human dental pulp-derived stem cells promote locomotor recovery after complete transection of the rat spinal cord by multiple neuro-regenerative mechanisms"
Studies Show Promise that Dental Stem Cells May Someday Treat Spinal Cord Injury
Researchers at Nagoya University in Japan were able to repair spinal cord injury with dental stem cells in a rat model.
According to the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation, rats with broken backs regained movement in their hind legs following a procedure where human dental pulp stem cells were transplanted into their spinal cord tissue.
The researchers found that rats treated with stem cells from teeth – both wisdom teeth and baby teeth – had significantly better recovery than those treated with bone marrow stem cells or those left untreated, with some mobility restored to the hind legs where they had none before.
Dental pulp stem cells (extracted from both baby teeth and wisdom teeth) appeared to work in 3 ways:
- They stopped the nerve cells from dying
- They helped regenerate the severed nerves
- They promoted the growth of other cells that support the spinal cord
More detail on the research:
The researchers cut the spinal cord in rats and treated them by applying dental stem cells from baby teeth and from wisdom teeth, as well as from bone marrow. They first grew the stem cells in culture, and then injected these cells very close to the site of the severed spinal cord. 5 weeks after the transplant, the rats that received injections of dental stem cells had recovered significantly more than those treated with bone marrow stem cells or PBS (a sterile saline solution), and while not fully recovered, were able to walk without weight support.
They went on to evaluate in more detail how dental stem cells were able to promote the regeneration of a completely severed spinal cord, and found that the dental stem cells had three major therapeutic benefits. First, after spinal cord injury, there is a cascade of cell death secondary to the initial injury; the application of dental stem cells inhibited this secondary cascade, helping to preserve populations of nerve cells that would have otherwise been lost. Second, regeneration of nerve cells is normally inhibited by a variety of factors; the dental stem cells were found to secrete factors that blocked this inhibition, allowing some of the nerve cells to regenerate. Finally, the dental stem cells themselves differentiated into a type of nerve cell known as an oligodendrocyte, helping to replace some of the lost tissue.
Dental pulp stem cells (extracted from both baby teeth and wisdom teeth) appeared to work in 3 ways: they stopped the nerve cells from dying, helped regenerate the severed nerves, and promoted the growth of other cells that support the spinal cord.
Dental Tribune | Dec 5, 2011
"Dental researchers bite into spinal cord injury rehab"
Dentistry Today | Dec 5, 2011
"Dental Cells May Help Aid Spinal Injuries"