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1.  The Microbial Challenge to Pulp Regeneration 
Advances in Dental Research  2011;23(3):285-289.
Pulp regeneration is considered in cases where the dental pulp has been destroyed because of microbial irritation. Diverse oral and food-borne micro-organisms are able to invade the pulp space, form biofilm on canal walls, and infiltrate dentinal tubules. Prior to pulp regeneration procedures, the pulp space and dentinal walls need to be sufficiently disinfected to allow for and promote regeneration. The necessary level of disinfection is likely higher than that accepted for traditional endodontic therapy, because in traditional techniques the mere lowering of bacterial loads and prevention of bacterial access to periapical tissues is conducive to healing. Moreover, several of the non-specific antimicrobials used in traditional endodontic therapy may cause significant changes in remaining dentin that interfere with its inherent potential to mediate regeneration. Non-specific antimicrobials also suppress all microbial taxa, which may allow residual virulent micro-organisms to preferentially repopulate the pulp space. Therefore, it is important for endodontic pathogens to be studied by molecular methods that allow for a broad depth of coverage. It is then essential to determine the most effective protocols to disinfect the pulp space, with minimal disruption of remaining dentin. These protocols include the topical use of effective antibiotics, including newer agents that have demonstrated efficacy against endodontic pathogens.
PMCID: PMC3144036  PMID: 21677080
pulp necrosis; pulp regeneration; endodontic pathogens; endodontic irrigants; topical antibiotics; microbiota
2.  TWIST1 Promotes the Odontoblast-like Differentiation of Dental Stem Cells 
Advances in Dental Research  2011;23(3):280-284.
Stem cells derived from the dental pulp of extracted human third molars (DPSCs) have the potential to differentiate into odontoblasts, osteoblasts, adipocytes, and neural cells when provided with the appropriate conditions. To advance the use of DPSCs for dentin regeneration, it is important to replicate the permissive signals that drive terminal events in odontoblast differentiation during tooth development. Such a strategy is likely to restore a dentin matrix that more resembles the tubular nature of primary dentin. Due to the limitations of culture conditions, the use of ex vivo gene therapy to drive the terminal differentiation of mineralizing cells holds considerable promise. In these studies, we asked whether the forced expression of TWIST1 in DPSCs could alter the potential of these cells to differentiate into odontoblast-like cells. Since the partnership between Runx2 and Twist1 proteins is known to control the onset of osteoblast terminal differentiation, we hypothesized that these genes act to control lineage determination of DPSCs. For the first time, our results showed that Twist1 overexpression in DPSCs enhanced the expression of DSPP, a gene that marks odontoblast terminal differentiation. Furthermore, co-transfection assays showed that Twist1 stimulates Dspp promoter activity by antagonizing Runx2 function in 293FT cells. Analysis of our in vitro data, taken together, suggests that lineage specification of DPSCs can be modulated through ex vivo gene modifications.
PMCID: PMC3144037  PMID: 21677079
TWIST1; RUNX2; dental stem cells; gene transfer; odontoblast; tooth development

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