Craniofacial tissue engineering by stem cells JOURNAL OF DENTAL RESEARCH Mao, J. J., Giannobile, W. V., Helms, J. A., Hollister, S. J., Krebsbach, P. H., Longaker, M. T., Shi, S. 2006; 85 (11): 966-979


Craniofacial tissue engineering promises the regeneration or de novo formation of dental, oral, and craniofacial structures lost to congenital anomalies, trauma, and diseases. Virtually all craniofacial structures are derivatives of mesenchymal cells. Mesenchymal stem cells are the offspring of mesenchymal cells following asymmetrical division, and reside in various craniofacial structures in the adult. Cells with characteristics of adult stem cells have been isolated from the dental pulp, the deciduous tooth, and the periodontium. Several craniofacial structures--such as the mandibular condyle, calvarial bone, cranial suture, and subcutaneous adipose tissue--have been engineered from mesenchymal stem cells, growth factor, and/or gene therapy approaches. As a departure from the reliance of current clinical practice on durable materials such as amalgam, composites, and metallic alloys, biological therapies utilize mesenchymal stem cells, delivered or internally recruited, to generate craniofacial structures in temporary scaffolding biomaterials. Craniofacial tissue engineering is likely to be realized in the foreseeable future, and represents an opportunity that dentistry cannot afford to miss.

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