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June 30, 2010

Gel Could Replace Fillings for Cavities and Replace Root Canal and Later Help Heal Bones and Tissue

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A new gel could soon eliminate painful fillings and root canals.
* The technology doesn't prevent cavities; it heals teeth by regenerating them.
* Although this is good news for teeth, the research could also be applied to heal bones and other tissues in the body.

* Teeth Regeneration will only be used rarely. If a filling will work, then dentists will stick with the current cheaper and familiar option.
A new peptide, embedded in a soft gel or a thin, flexible film and placed next to a cavity, encourages cells inside teeth to regenerate in about a month, according to a new study in the journal ACS Nano.

ACS Nano - Nanostructured Assemblies for Dental Application



The gel or thin film contains a peptide known as MSH, or melanocyte-stimulating hormone. Previous experiments, reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that MSH encourages bone regeneration.

Bone and teeth are fairly similar, so the French scientists reasoned that if the MSH were applied to teeth, it should help healing as well.

To test their theory, the French scientists applied either a film or gel, both of which contained MSH, to cavity-filled mice teeth. After about one month, the cavities had disappeared, said Benkirane-Jessel.


Millions of teeth are saved each year by root canal therapy. Although current treatment modalities offer high levels of success for many conditions, an ideal form of therapy might consist of regenerative approaches in which diseased or necrotic pulp tissues are removed and replaced with healthy pulp tissue to revitalize teeth. Melanocortin peptides (α-MSH) possess anti-inflammatory properties in many acute and chronic inflammatory models. Our recent studies have shown that α-MSH covalently coupled to poly-l-glutamic acid (PGA-α-MSH) retains anti-inflammatory properties on rat monocytes. This study aimed to define the effects of PGA-α-MSH on dental pulp fibroblasts. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated fibroblasts incubated with PGA-α-MSH showed an early time-dependent inhibition of TNF-α, a late induction of IL-10, and no effect on IL-8 secretion. However, in the absence of LPS, PGA-α-MSH induced IL-8 secretion and proliferation of pulp fibroblasts, whereas free α-MSH inhibited this proliferation. Thus, PGA-α-MSH has potential effects in promoting human pulp fibroblast adhesion and cell proliferation. It can also reduce the inflammatory state of LPS-stimulated pulp fibroblasts observed in gram-negative bacterial infections. These effects suggest a novel use of PGA-α-MSH as an anti-inflammatory agent in the treatment of endodontic lesions. To better understand these results, we have also used the multilayered polyelectrolyte films as a reservoir for PGA-α-MSH by using not only PLL (poly-l-lysine) but also the Dendri Graft poly-l-lysines (DGLG4) to be able to adsorb more PGA-α-MSH. Our results indicated clearly that, by using PGA-α-MSH, we increase not only the viability of cells but also the proliferation. We have also analyzed at the nanoscale by atomic force microscopy these nanostructured architectures and shown an increase of thickness and roughness in the presence of PGA-α-MSH incorporated into the multilayered film (PLL-PGA-α-MSH)10 or (DGLG4-PGA-α-MSH)10 in accordance with the increase of the proliferation of the cells growing on the surface of these architectures. We report here the first use of nanostructured and functionalized multilayered films containing α-MSH as a new active biomaterial for endodontic regeneration.

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