Tooth loss provokes loss of occlusal function, resulting in a decreased quality of life. Tooth loss is related primarily to irretrievable damage of the periodontium caused by deep caries, severe periodontal diseases, or irreversible trauma. Periodontal ligament (PDL) is a central tissue in periodontium and contains stem/progenitor cells that are believed to have the potential to regenerate periodontium, including PDL tissue. For this reason, we and other groups have focused on such undifferentiated cells to elucidate their applicable potentials for PDL regenerative medicine based on cell-based tissue engineering. However, how their differentiation is controlled remains unclear. We recently suggested that transforming growth factor-beta 1 is a candidate factor for regulation of fibroblastic differentiation of stem/progenitor cells in PDL tissue.
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