Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Laying Down Roots

How tooth root growth is controlled

20 August 2019

Laying Down Roots

The bigger the tree above ground, the more extensive its roots below ground. Swap trees for teeth and it’s the same story. Larger teeth, namely molars, need more tooth roots to keep them securely anchored in your jaw and to provide them with adequate nutrients through blood vessels that run through the roots. Researchers investigate how the correct number of roots develop, focusing on the protein Ezh2, which is known to help bones of the face develop. In mice lacking Ezh2 in a specific tissue type called mesenchyme, which contributes to tooth development, the molars developed fewer roots as captured using micro-CT (pictured, bottom) when compared to normal mouse molars (top). Piecing together the puzzle of tooth root development contributes towards continued efforts to regenerate human teeth to treat tooth loss.

Written by Lux Fatimathas

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