Neurobiologists are utilizing dental stem cells from the pulp of baby teeth to study Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Dental stem cells are very plastic stem cells [they can be differentiated into many types of tissue] derived from the neural crest during early embryonic development.
Dubbed the ‘Tooth Fairy Project,’ lead researcher Alysson R. Muotri, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and his team* collected dental stem cells from children with and without ASD. The cells were differentiated into neurons enabling the team to compare the set of neurons with ASD to the set of neurons without ASD. The study revealed that the neurons of children without ASD had a greater number of synapses, which allow neurons to communicate so they can function together. In a mouse model, hyperforin was administered to ASD mice triggering the formation of additional synapses improving the symptoms of ASD, such as focus and social behavior.
Using the cell-reprogramming technique, the researchers discovered a significant link between ASD and neurons. As there are many types of ASD, researchers are expanding the study using cultured neurons to identify and categorize the underlying causes of various manifestations of ASD. Researchers hope to identify specific drugs to treat specific types of ASD. In a clear case of personalized medicine, such an approach should lead to greater efficacy and an improved outcome for individuals afflicted with ASD. .
As regenerative engineering progresses, we believe the best stem cells to use in emerging treatments will be the patient’s own [autologous stem cells] as this negates the need to find a suitable donor and eliminates the chances of rejection of the transplanted tissue. To learn more about banking your own valuable stem cells to insure your family’s future health, visit StemSave or call 877-783-6728 (877-StemSave) today.
*Hongjun Song, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Guo-il Ming, M.D., Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University
Matthew W. State, M.D., University of California, San Francisco
The Future of Regenerative Medicine is Now™
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