The researchers explain how altering the stem cell reaction to inflammation can be used to rehabilitate periodontal disease.

Periodontal disorder, alternatively referred to as gum disease, is a debilitating illness that impacts almost half of all Americans aged 30 and over. Periodontal disorder, if left untreated, will destroy the jawbone and result in tooth loss. Additionally, the condition is linked to an increased incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Periodontal disorder is currently treated by opening affected gum flaps and applying bone grafts to protect the teeth. However, in recent research reported in the journal Frontiers in Immunology, Forsyth Institute scientists discovered that a particular form of molecule can stimulate stem cells to regenerate, thus reversing periodontal disease-induced inflammation. This discovery can pave the way for the creation of novel therapeutics for a variety of systemic diseases marked by chronic inflammation in the body.

Dr. Alpdogan Kantarci, his PhD student Dr. Emmanuel Albuquerque, and their colleagues harvested stem cells from recently extracted wisdom teeth and cultured them in petri dishes for the analysis. The researchers then developed a petri dish system that mimicked inflammatory periodontal disease. Following that, they incorporated two distinct synthetic molecules named Maresin-1 and Resolvin-E1, both of which are specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators derived from omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers discovered that Mar1 and RvE1 facilitated stem cell regeneration also under inflammatory environments.

“Both Maresin-1 and Resolvin-1 reprogrammed the cellular phenotype of human stem cells, demonstrating that it is possible to increase stem cell potential in response to inflammation,” said Dr. Kantarci, Associate Member of Staff at the Forsyth Institute. This discovery is important because it enables researchers to pinpoint the basic protein pathways involved in inflammation. Numerous chronic disorders, including periodontal cancer, asthma, heart disease, dementia, and obesity, share these same protein channels. “Now that we recognize how these molecules promote stem cell differentiation in various tissues and reverse inflammation at a crucial time stage, we believe the process we found could one day be used to build complex organs,” Dr. Kantarci said. “There is tremendous opportunity for reprogramming stem cells to concentrate exclusively on tissue growth.”


Forsyth Institute. “Researchers demonstrate how changing the stem cell response to inflammation may reverse periodontal disease.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 October 2020. <>.

Categories: Dental