New bio-implant aims to replicate function of periodontal ligament

Wednesday, September 27, 2017



Korean researchers have engineered a ‘bio-implant’ which uses immortalised human periodontal cells to reduce the chance of infections such as peri-implantitis. The experiment aimed to create a living periodontal ligament (PDL) connection for titanium implants.

One advantage which natural teeth have over dental implants is PDL. This is the fibrous tissue which connects the tooth-root to the alveolar bone. This tissue plays a fundamental role in assisting collective function among teeth, as well as serving as a periodontal sensory mechanism. Since dental implants are secured only by osseointegration, and lack PDL, they are more susceptible to infections, such as peri-implantitis.

The researchers manufactured the cell sheets using immortalised human periodontal cells, which were then manually wrapped around the titanium implant screw. The bio-implants were transplanted into the upper first molar region in mice. After eight weeks, the bio-implant had generated: fibrous connective tissue; a localised blood network: and new bone-growth fused into the alveolar socket.

This study shows the potential of using immortalised as opposed to embryonic cells for generating periodontal tissue. The use of embryonic cells is risky as it has the potential to cause tumours, as well as there being ethical issues surrounding their use. The researchers noted that the approach is not yet ready for human application and that the generated tissue’s response to masticatory forces must also be properly validated. This study appeared in Scientific Reports.