Dental pulp stem cells may benefit patients with severe spinal cord injuries (SCIs), a recent study says. Akihito Yamamoto, DDS, PhD, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Nagoya Japan, led the study, which encompassed a rat model.

According to researchers, rats with severe SCIs were transplanted with human dental pulp stem cells. Results indicated that the rats exhibited a marked recovery of hind limb function. Through a detailed analysis, researchers say, they were able to shed light on three benefits provided by the introduction of the human dental pulp stem cells. 

The first highlighted the stem cells’ ability to inhibit the death of nerve cells and support them, the dental pulp stem cells were also reported to promote the regeneration of severed nerves. Lastly, the human dental pulp stem cells replaced lost support cells by generating new ones.

“Our data demonstrates that tooth-derived stem cells may provide therapeutic benefits for treating SCI through both cell-autonomous and paracrine neuroregenerative activities,” researchers explain.

Yamamoto also articulated hope that the approach may potentially be translated into an effective treatment for SCI.

Source: Journal of Clinical Investigation