Periodontal regeneration: a challenge for the tissue engineer?

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Periodontitis affects around 15 per cent of human adult populations. While periodontal treatment aimed at removing the bacterial cause of the disease is generally very successful, the ability predictably to regenerate the damaged tissues remains a major unmet objective for new treatment strategies. Existing treatments include the use of space-maintaining barrier membranes (guided tissue regeneration), use of graft materials, and application of bioactive molecules to induce regeneration, but their overall effects are relatively modest and restricted in application. The periodontal ligament is rich in mesenchymal stem cells, and the understanding of the signalling molecules that may regulate their differentation has increased enormously in recent years. Applying these principles for the development of new tissue engineering strategies for periodontal regeneration will require further work to determine the efficacy of current experimental preclinical treatments, including pharmacological application of growth factors such as bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) or Wnts, use of autologous stem cell reimplantation strategies, and development of improved biomaterial scaffolds. This article describes the background to this problem, addresses the current status of periodontal regeneration, including the background biology, and discusses the potential for some of these experimental therapies to achieve the goal of clinically predictable periodontal regeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345 - 1358
Number of pages14
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue numberH12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


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