Page URL:

Stem cells from human urine used to grow teeth in mice

5 August 2013
Appeared in BioNews 716

Scientists have grown tooth-like structures in the lab using stem cells derived from human urine combined with embryonic mouse cells.

The ultimate goal of this research is to replace teeth lost through injury or ageing with those grown from a person’s own cells.

A team from the Guangzhou Institute of Biomedicine and Health in China isolated cells normally found in human urine, that have been shed from the lining of the urinary tract. These cells were induced to become pluripotent stem cells, and stimulated to develop into an epithelium, which would make up the surface of the tooth. They were then combined with early-stage dental cells from mice, mesenchymal cells, that have the capacity to develop into the dental pulp in the middle of the tooth.

The resulting bundles of cells were transplanted into the kidneys of other mice and, after three weeks, about one third of them had grown into tooth-like structures containing dental pulp, dentin and enamel.

The researchers said that their work, along with future studies stimulating human cells into forming the dental pulp as well as the epithelium, would lead to 'the final dream of total regeneration of human teeth for clinical therapy'.

The advantage of using urine as a source of stem cells is that it is very easily accessible, unlike alternatives such as bone marrow. However, Professor Chris Mason, a stem cell scientist at University College London, told the BBC that he was sceptical about using urine as a source of stem cells. 'It is probably one of the worst sources, there are very few cells in the first place and the efficiency of turning them into stem cells is very low. You just wouldn't do it in this way'.

He also noted that 'the big challenge' in growing cells in the lab is that 'the teeth have got a pulp with nerve and blood vessels which have to make sure they integrate to get permanent teeth'.

The research was published in the journal Cell Regeneration.

Generation of tooth-like structures from integration-free human urine induced pluripotent stem cells
Cell Regeneration Journal |  30 July 2013
New teeth grown from urine - study
BBC News |  30 July 2013
Scientists grow human tooth using stem cells taken from urine
The Independent |  30 July 2013
Stem cells extracted from urine used to 'grow teeth'
NHS Choices |  30 July 2013
28 September 2015 - by Dr Greg Ball 
Researchers in Japan have found a way to overcome a major obstacle to using stem-cell grown kidneys in animals...
22 September 2014 - by Isobel Steer 
Mice engineered to carry a human version of the 'language gene' can learn to navigate a maze faster than normal mice. The study offers some insight into how humans evolved to produce and understand speech....
2 June 2014 - by Dr Naqash Raja 
Lasers have been used to activate stem cells to repair and regrow damaged teeth in animals...
14 October 2013 - by Dr Greg Ball 
Large-scale production of liver and pancreas cells is becoming a possibility, as scientists have developed a cell culture method allowing stem cells to grow in the laboratory...
16 September 2013 - by James Brooks 
For the first time living tissue in mice has been induced into an embryonic state without any intervening preparation in the lab...
29 July 2013 - by Dr Greg Ball 
Light-sensitive cells found in the retina have been grown from mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and successfully transplanted into the eyes of visually impaired mice, restoring some vision...
22 July 2013 - by Dr Katie Howe 
Human stem cells have been used to create networks of blood vessels in mice that functioned for nine months...
8 July 2013 - by James Brooks 
Stem cells generated from adult cells have been used to grow tiny 'liver buds' which were then successfully transplanted into mice...
18 March 2013 - by Dr Rosie Morley 
For the first time, teeth have been grown from human gum cells, in combination with stem cells from mouse embryos...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.