King’s College London study finds how to activate stem cell growth from reserves
Stem cells provide renewable sources of cells in many adult tissues, enabling tissue growth and repair. But what happens when the stem cells themselves become depleted, or the tissue needs to go through periods of more rapid growth?
A recent study by researchers at King’s College London’s Dental Institute have showed that in growing teeth, a tiny population of cells act as an emergency reservoir and these can provide new stem cells during rapid tooth growth. The study was recently published in Nature Communications.
King’s College London Dental Institute is one of the foremost Dental Schools in the world.
Recently ranked fourth in the world in dentistry by the QS World University Rankings 2016, and first in the UK. The Faculty’s international reputation attracts students and staff from across the globe. With highly skilled teachers and supervisors, there are exceptional facilities, including access to over 300,000 patients each year across the two world-famous hospitals, Guy’s and St Thomas’, for hands-on clinical training. They are the largest dental academic centre in the UK, they teach over 700 undergraduate students, 140 graduate taught students, 300 distance learning students and 110 graduate research students. It’s easy to see how such an important discovery would be made by this institution.
The team was led by Professor Paul Sharpe.
They found that these normally quiescent cells become activated at times when the tooth needs a growth spurt. They generate a specific population of stem cells that provide the extra cells needed for the increase in growth rate.
The research has implications for understanding how stem cells behave and which cell populations may need to be targeted in clinical therapies. By knowing which stem cells to activate to encourage rapid growth, this stem cell growth research takes another step towards enabling the natural repair of teeth.
Further details of the King’s College London may be found on their website: www.kcl.ac.uk/dentistry