Bad breadth chemical converts dental pulp into cells

Tokyo: A compound that gives the mouth its bad breadth or halitosis, can also help tweak stem cells from human dental pulp into liver cells, a study reveals.

Researchers from Nippon Dental University, Japan, showed that hydrogen sulphide (H2S) (which smells like rotten eggs) boosted the ability of adult stem cells to differentiate into hepatic (liver) cells, furthering their reputation as a reliable source for future liver-cell therapy.

This is the first time that liver cells have been produced from human dental pulp and, even more impressively, have been produced in high numbers of high purity, the Journal of Breath Research reported.

"High purity means there are less `wrong cells` that are being differentiated to other tissues, or remaining as stem cells," said a university statement.

"Moreover, these facts suggest that patients undergoing transplantation with the hepatic cells may have almost no possibility of developing teratomas or cancers, as can be the case when using bone marrow stem cells," said Ken Yaegaki, who led the study.

Yaegaki and his group used stem cells from dental pulp -- the central part of the tooth made up of connective tissue and cells -- which were obtained from the teeth of dental patients who were undergoing routine tooth extractions.

"Until now, nobody has produced the protocol to regenerate such a huge number of hepatic cells for human transplantation. Compared to the traditional method of using fetal bovine serum to produce the cells, our method is productive and, most importantly, safe" concluded Yaegaki.