Dental pulp cells are able to self-assemble to form stable rod-microtissues

In the last decade, regenerative medicine showed great interest in the 3D printing tools to reconstruct microtissues for dentistry applications. Researcher focused mostly their attention on the optimisation of specific biologically compatible scaffolds where cells can grow, proliferate and exert their functions. However, scaffold-free systems, that are made by 3D self-assembly cells, better resemble a physiological condition for the cells. It follows that of basic importance is the comprehension of mechanisms behind the dynamics of cells/tissues terms of their viability, but also contraction and stabilisation. Recently, in a work published on Clinical Oral investigations, one of the the ECTS Academy Founder, Hermann Agis, and his colleagues investigated whether dental pulp cells (DPCs) could form stable rod-shaped microtissues for possible endodontic regenerative applications. They asked whether and how external cellular stimuli might influence the contraction dynamics of these microtissues. The authors found that DPCs, initially distributed in a rod-shaped mold, after 2 days, tend to modify their shape in spheroidal structures remaining stable and viable up to the next 10 days. Moreover, to understand which cellular mechanisms were involved in this cell shaping process, they evaluated the functionality of specific molecules known to be modifiers of the internal structure of the cells (the so called cytoskeleton): in particular, they found that, while the Transforming Growth Factor β (a very important molecule for DPCs proliferation, migration and differentiation) seems not to have effect on the rod-mold contraction, the PI3K/AKT intracellular signaling importantly influences the length of the microtissues. All these data highlight the importance of taking into account cellular dynamics in the direct design and fabrication of DPC microtissues, especially considering the up-to-date 3D bioprinting tools for dentistry applications.

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