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According to a new study, there is a possibility that false teeth may remain in the past, thanks to the discovery of an antibody that triggers the regeneration of missing teeth. However, there are negative points.
The new study, published in the journal Science Advances on February 12, indicates that by inhibiting the action of a gene called USAG-1, the antibody increases the availability of certain growth factors and can be used to help people have a new smile.
During the experiment, the team modified mice genetically to make them suffer from dental agenesis – disease in which some teeth do not develop.
Only one injection with the USAG-1 antibody resulted in the development of teeth in rats with the disease. On the other hand, a single dose caused a new tooth to grow in normal mice.
The researchers decided to target the USAG-1 gene, as it is known to inhibit two signaling molecules known as BMP and Wnt, both involved in tooth development.
However, as these compounds also control the growth of a wide range of other organs, interfering with them can produce a number of Side effects graves.
In the experiments, the team tested several monoclonal antibodies different ones that alter the ability of USAG-1 to interact with BMP and Wnt, although several of them have produced severe birth defects. In the end, they found a specific antibody that prevented the gene from binding to BMP, but had no impact on Wnt.
The authors conclude that USAG-1 thus prevents the growth of teeth when it binds to BMP, thus reducing its activity.
In a statement, the study author Katsu Takahashi explained that the researchers knew that “suppressing USAG-1 benefits the growth of teeth”. “What we didn’t know was whether that would be enough,” he said.
However, the research results indicate that inhibiting the gene’s activity allows a sufficient increase in BMP for the growth of new teeth.
Although this technique is not close to being applied to humans, experts tested the antibody on ferrets. These animals have dental patterns similar to those of humans, with a teething of milk that is later also replaced by permanent teeth.
The results indicated that the treatment is equally effective in ferrets, with a single dose of the antibody triggering the regeneration of an entire tooth. This suggests that the technique can also work on humans, although there are a number of safety issues that need to be addressed beforehand.
For now, the researchers intend to repeat the experiment in other mammals, such as pigs and dogs, writes the IFL Science.
Ana Isabel Moura, ZAP //
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