Teeth, whiskers bioengineered

In a study some experts say largely confirms previous work, a Japanese team shows new teeth can develop in the adult mouse mouth

Jeffrey M. Perkel
Feb 18, 2007
Japanese researchers have successfully reconstituted two bioengineered organs -- teeth and whiskers -- from individual cells in mice, according to a report out this week in Nature Methods. Instead of relying on pre-fabricated, cell-seeded organ scaffolds, as tissue engineers have in the past, this paper relies on cellular self-assembly, tissue engineer Vladimir Mironov from the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, told The Scientist. The study "imposes a new paradigm: We don't need to depend on chemical engineers and scaffolds," noted Mironov, who was not involved in the research. "I'm very excited about this paper." Teeth develop during embryogenesis via the interplay of epithelial and mesenchymal cells. During the study, Takashi Tsuji of Tokyo University of Science and colleagues recapitulated that process by isolating these cell types from embryonic mouse incisor tooth germ. The researchers dissociated the tissues into single cells and injected large numbers of each type...