February 17, 2022

Stem cells from in between teeth may treat dermatological conditions, including psoriasis

Bottom half of woman's face with curly hair, smiling.

Stem cells harvested from dental pulp could be the next trend in regenerative medicine for anti-aging and treatment for chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, suggests a team of Wayne State University School of Medicine students in a published letter to the editor of the International Journal of Dermatology.

By the skin of our teeth: potential applications of dental pulp stem cells to cutaneous disease,” was written as a clinical update for dermatologists to consider by the Class of 2022’s Arif Musa and Sarah Nassar; the Class of 2023’s Jenna Yousif; Henry Ford Health transitional year resident Judy Hamad, M.D.; and Department of Dermatology Associate Professor and Residency Program Director Steven Daveluy, M.D.

Dental pulp is the center part of a tooth, comprised of cells, connective tissue and blood vessels. Dental pulp stem cells, or DPSCs, first isolated by scientists in 2002, represent a novel adult stem cell population with considerable ability to proliferate, self-renew and differentiate into multiple lineages, “but haven’t been explored recently,” the students said.

DPSCs have demonstrated superior growth potential compared to stem cells harvested from bone marrow, a 2009 study from the International Journal of Pediatric Dentistry proved.

“DPSCs have been used (within in vivo studies) to treat spinal cord injury, repair infarcted myocardium, modulate autoimmune conditions and treat diseases of the pancreas, liver and oral cavity. However, the clinical applicability of DPSCs remains limited in humans at this time, with only a handful of human studies being published in the literature,” they wrote.

Pilot studies have been limited to the treatment of dental pulpitis and pulp necrosis, finding the implantation of DPSCs to be safe and effective in small sample sizes.

“When our team pitched the idea to Dr. Daveluy, he was happy to collaborate, especially because he had told me he had never heard of DPSCs prior to this project. I think that was in part the reason that our paper was accepted by the International Journal of Dermatology – because the use of DPSCs is still very new and under investigation,” Musa said.

Although DPSCs were first isolated nearly two decades ago, the potential therapeutic applications of these stem cells to cutaneous conditions had not been explored until recently.

“They did a great job of spotting a field with a lot of potential,” Dr. Daveluy said. “When they approached me, I was impressed with the synthesis of the existing literature that they had performed. I'm going to keep an eye on the literature. Hopefully we'll have some new treatment options for the clinic soon.”

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