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27.04.2021 09:40

For the first time, all cells of human teeth have been deciphered in detail

Melanie Nyfeler communication
University of Zurich

For the first time, researchers at the University of Zurich have created a complete atlas of all cells found in human teeth. They found out that tooth pulp and tooth holding apparatus differ greatly in cellular terms. The single-cell atlas opens up new avenues for cell-based dental therapy approaches.

In the past 30 years, medical and dental research has attracted numerous scientists and practitioners who work with genetic and tissue regenerative approaches. The new developments in stem cells and tissue engineering have brought new insights and ideas on how to improve clinical practice. The research groups deal with the following topics: How can the healing process of injured tissues and organs be effectively supported? Can lost tissue be regenerated? How do you create solid protocols that apply to all stem cell therapies?

Cells of the human tooth sequenced at the single cell level

A research team led by Thimios Mitsiadis, professor at the Institute for Oral Biology at the University of Zurich, and Andreas Moor, professor at the Department of Biosystems and Engineering at ETH Zurich, has now created the first single-cell atlas of human teeth. Thanks to the combination of advanced sequencing technology and modern dentistry, the researchers were able to differentiate between every single cell that is part of the tooth pulp and the tooth supporting structure. “Our study shows the exact composition of these two tissues. Both are prone to tooth decay and periodontitis and at the same time contain stem cells that have great regenerative potential, ”explains Pierfrancesco Pagella, one of the two first authors and lead researcher in Team Mitsiadis.

The study showed that the cell types in the tooth pulp and in the holding apparatus are very heterogeneous. Surprisingly, however, the molecular signatures of the stem cell populations are very similar. "We suspect that the different behavior of individual cell types is caused by their respective environment," says Pagella. The specific composition of the cellular microenvironment is therefore probably responsible for the large functional differences of the stem cells in the various tooth compartments.

New cell-based dental therapies possible

The new atlas makes an important contribution to a better understanding of the complex, cellular and molecular composition of human tooth tissue. It helps to better understand the interactions between tooth pulp and periodontal cells, which are involved in the immune response to bacterial attacks. "The single-cell analysis could not only be useful for diagnostic purposes and support the early detection of dental diseases, but also contribute to the cell-based regeneration of damaged parts of the teeth," explains last author Thimios Mitsiadis.


Scientific contact:

Contacts:
Prof. Dr. Thimios A. Mitsiadis
Institute for Oral Biology
University of Zurich
Tel. +41 44 634 33 90
Email: [email protected]


Original publication:

Literature:
Pierfrancesco Pagella, Laura de Vargas Roditi, Bernd Stadlinger, Andreas E. Moor, Thimios A. Mitsiadis. A single cell atlas of human teeth. ISCIENCE, April 9, 2021. Thu: 10.1016 / j.isci.2021.102405


Additional Information:

https://www.media.uzh.ch/de/medienmitteilungen/2021/Zahn-Atlas.html


Features of this press release:
Journalists
Nutrition / health / care, medicine
supraregional
Research results, research projects
German