Researchers from Kyoto University and the University of Fukui in Japan found that an antibody for the uterine sensitization associated gene-1 (USAG-1) can stimulate tooth growth in mice with the congenital condition of tooth agenesis.
Deciduous incisors erupt as excess teeth in a mouse deficient in USAG-1. Image courtesy of Kyoto University.
After experiments showed that bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling was essential for determining the number of teeth in mice, the researchers discovered that a single administration of an antibody was enough to generate a whole tooth. The same benefits were found in ferrets during subsequent experiments.
"Ferrets are diphyodont animals with similar dental patterns to humans," said co-author Dr. Katsu Takahashi of the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in a statement. "Our next plan is to test the antibodies on other animals such as pigs and dogs."
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