This new drug makes teeth grow in mice that lack them

This new drug makes teeth grow in mice that lack them

A study by scientists from the University of Kyoto and the University of Fukui reports that an antibody to a gene (gene-1 or USAG-1 associated with uterine sensitization) can stimulate tooth growth in mice with dental agenesis , a congenital condition.

The study is the first to show the benefits of monoclonal antibodies in tooth regeneration and provides a new therapeutic framework for a clinical problem that can currently only be solved with implants and other artificial measures. The study has been published in Science Advances .

Agnesia dental

Dental agenesis is what we commonly know as the lack or absence of a tooth. It is a defect in which certain teeth do not erupt in the mouth due to the absence of these pieces. It is quite common in a high percentage of human beings. It can occur both in permanent and primary teeth (baby teeth). Although the normal adult mouth has 32 teeth, about 1% of the population has more or less due to congenital conditions .

According to Katsu Takahashi , one of the study’s lead authors and a senior lecturer at Kyoto University School of Medicine, the fundamental molecules responsible for tooth development have already been identified:

The morphogenesis of individual teeth depends on the interactions of several molecules, including BMP, or bone morphogenetic protein, and Wnt signaling.

BMP and Wnt are involved in much more than tooth development. They modulate the growth of multiple organs and tissues in the human body. Consequently, medications that directly affect its activity are commonly avoided, as the side effects could affect the entire body.

Taking into account, then, that attacking the factors that antagonize BMP and Wnt specifically in tooth development could be safer, the team considered the USAG-1 gene .

Therefore, they investigated the effects of various monoclonal antibodies to USAG-1. Monoclonal antibodies are commonly used to treat cancers, arthritis, and vaccine development.

Experiments with this antibody revealed that BMP signaling is essential for determining the number of teeth in mice. Furthermore, a single administration was sufficient to generate a complete tooth. Later experiments showed the same benefits in ferrets.