Oral tissues and organs are connected functionally in the oral cavity, which is a complex structure. Damage to one of them that is irreversible is more likely to impact the others, leading to widespread malfunction. Oral health is negatively impacted by periodontal disorders, alveolar bone resorption and tooth decay. Dental pulp stem cells have therapeutic potential in the regeneration of dental, periodontal, and oral systems.
Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) are neural crest-derived cells with a high capacity for differentiation across numerous cell lineages. In vitro methods can be employed to induce very rapid osteogenic or dentinogenic differentiation of DPSCs, making these cells an appealing and potential approach for future dental and periodontal therapeutic strategies. The regeneration of salivary glands and bone deformities appears to be feasible by employing DPSCs in oral-related structures.
Novel strategies using cell-free therapy with cell extracts or secretome components also show promising results, particularly as compared to cell-based approaches, the secretome is easier to collect, quantify, and store for long-term usage in numerous fields. Here are some of the applications of Dental pulp stem cells:
- Periodontal Tissue Regeneration
Several studies have demonstrated the use of dental pulp stem cells and periodontal ligament stem cells in periodontal diseases. DPSCs release various growth factors including enamel matrix derivatives that help in periodontal regeneration. It also helps in repairing and healing the damaged pulp-dentin complex which is the major cause of periodontal issues. In several animal studies, it has been demonstrated that the marker Wnt3a assists in preserving the vitality of the pulp and uplifts odontoblast differentiation.
- Blood Vessel Construction
The pulp is a vascularized and perfused tissue that contains a group of stem cells that can differentiate in multiple directions. Dental pulp stem cells are a novel strategy for treating disorders involving small blood vessels due to their vascular properties. Teeth can be treated to a variety of growth factors, including those found in myeloid stem cell prepared medium, neurotrophic factors, nerve growth factors, vascular endothelial growth factors, and glial cell-derived neurotrophic factors, among others. Various studies have found that cell markers like TGF-β, IL-1 and IL-2 enhance the anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory properties of DPSC that ultimately help in blood vessel construction.
- Formation of Cartilage
Some populations of DPSCs cells taken from the pulp can express bone-specific components such as type II collagen and chitosan, and about 30% of them can be converted into chondrocytes. Furthermore, dental pulp stem cells could be differentiated into dentin, bone, and cartilage components at a preliminary phase of cell culture. Even yet, these cells might be differentiated into osteoblasts in the late stages of culture. The development of dental pulp stem cells into chondrocytes indicates that using dental pulp stem cells in tissue engineering to treat cartilage defects could be a viable option.
- Bone Tissue Regeneration
In vitro experiments revealed that injecting dental pulp stem cells with gelatine scaffolds could aberrantly alter bone structures, and that seed cells from bone tissue can be employed as advanced stem cells, ushering in a new era in bone tissue engineering.
- Nerve Repair
The use of mesenchymal stem cells derived from the pulp of human deciduous teeth in wound healing could be beneficial. Furthermore, dental pulp stem cells exert paracrine effects due to their continuous differentiation. Apart from their substantial neural differentiation potential, DPSCs produced from multiple cranial neural crest cell lineages express many factors that promote nerve and axon regeneration. The neural crest cell markers CD271 and SOX10 have been found in DPSCs, suggesting that they could be used to encourage the development of Schwann cells, which are important in peripheral nerve repair.