Discovery May Help in the Quest to Regenerate Teeth
Research led by investigators at the University of Southern California (USC) may provide clues about the effect of epigenetic regulation on root patterning and development.
Research led by investigators at the University of Southern California (USC) may provide clues about the effect of epigenetic regulation on root patterning and development. Published in Elife, the study, “Antagonistic Interaction Between Ezh2 and Arid1a Coordinates Root Patterning and Development via Cdkn2a in Mouse Molars,” could lead to an effective means of tooth regrowth. The findings suggest the proteins Ezh2 and Arid1a must be in balance to establish proper tooth root pattern and integration of tooth roots with jawbones.
Together with colleagues, Yang Chai, DDS, PhD, associate dean of research at the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, used a mouse model to observe what happens when Ezh2 is not present in the molars of developing mice. The investigators used epigenetics to study how Ezh2, a protein that assists in the development of bones of the face, affects tooth root development. The study provides a clearer understanding of the importance of balanced epigenetic regulation in determining tooth root pattern and the integration of roots with the jawbones to achieve physiological function.
Through his research, Chai aims to find ways to regenerate a molar root and place a crown on it. “It would be the best of both worlds,” he says, “a natural integration of the root with the jawbone with the periodontal ligament in place, and a reduction in the amount of time we need by using just a crown to restore function.” Read more about “Retention of the Natural Dentition and Replacement of Missing Teeth”