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In 2003, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH, Bethesda USA) demonstrated that adult stem cells known by the name of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are found inside the pulp of milk teeth (deciduous teeth).
These mesenchymal stem cells are one of the cell types most widely studied and are promising in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering since, in specific conditions, they are able to differentiate themselves and transform into adipose, cartilage, muscle and bone tissue. In adults, these cells reside in anatomical niches where they remain undifferentiated and in a state of quiescence. They are activated by environmental stimuli to guarantee the physiological turnover of the various tissue populations, or to mend tissues that are worn, damaged by lesions or diseases.
The milk teeth are an easy-to-access collection site and are also a valuable source of mesenchymal stem cells that are currently the subject of hundreds of scientific research projects. These studies are aimed at assessing the real potential of these cells in autologous treatment; not only in the dental field but also in the treatment of numerous significant systemic diseases, such as, blood and neurodegenerative diseases. In addition, the ability of the mesenchymal stem cells to interact with biomaterials makes this type of cell fundamental in the dental, bone and muscle tissue regeneration processes.
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