SHED – A New Journey From Shedding Teeth!

Dental stem cells are derived from the neural crest. They could self-renew and be clonogenic. Three categories of stem cells have been identified based on their potential and capacity to develop into various cellular types:

  • Pluripotent stem cells, also referred to as embryonic stem cells, have the ability to develop into any form of tissue.
  • Multipotent stem cells are adult stem cells or postnatal stem cells with the ability to differentiate into many lineages.
  • Totipotent stem cells, which can grow into a whole organism.

Deciduous and permanent teeth have been considered a readily accessible source for the isolation and subsequent development of dental pulp cells for tissue engineering use. Dental pulp stem cells were discovered in 2000, and human exfoliated deciduous teeth stem cells (SHED), also known as immature dental pulp stem cells (IDPSC), were discovered in 2003. They are obtained from the dental pulp tissue of the exfoliated deciduous teeth.

The dental pulp of deciduous teeth exists before birth and remains intact until the eruption of permanent teeth. This stage is distinguished by the preservation of an active niche rich in stem cells that has not yet been significantly influenced by the combined effects of environmental or genetic factors.

Even though SHED has been separated from the dental pulp, it can differentiate into a variety of other cell types, including osteoblasts, neurons, and endothelial cells. SHED acts in accordance with the resorption of the roots of deciduous teeth as well as the growth and eruption of permanent teeth. Compared to bone marrow stromal stem cells and dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs), SHEDs are distinct in their expression qualities and show a higher proliferation rate. The collection of dental pulp is an easier and safer undertaking than the collection from bone marrow. These cells can be easily available following exfoliation, with only a few ethical considerations.

The discovery of stem cells was a significant step ahead in regenerative medicine, resulting in an entirely novel phase of exploration with potential applications in the treatment of diseases. Clinical investigations have been conducted to assess the safety of using individuals’ dental pulp stem cells to regenerate dental pulp. SHED is a valuable source for the treatment of craniofacial abnormalities, regenerating bones, and performing regenerative endodontic procedures. It has also been effectively employed for a variety of therapeutic applications, including the treatment of diabetes and liver illnesses.

Other clinical applications include the repair of heart muscle, the transplantation of bone and cartilage, the treatment of Crohn’s disease, the correction of spinal abnormalities, and plastic surgery. Hence, as a possible source of pluripotent stem cells, SHED has the potential to be used in the future for cellular-based therapies in both medicine and dentistry.

About the Author:


Lecturer (Paediatric), Faculty of Dentistry, SEGi University

Dr Vanishree earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences in Bangalore, India. She embarked on her academic journey at the Coorg Institute of Dental Sciences in Coorg, India, serving as a lecturer from 2005 to 2010 and as a senior lecturer at HDCH in Jabalpur, India, from 2013 to 2015. Currently, she holds the position of lecturer in paediatric dentistry at the Faculty of Dentistry, SEGi University since 2016. Dr Vanishree has delivered numerous scientific presentations at both national and international conferences and boasts more than 45 publications in indexed journals. Notably, her article was featured as the first article in the inaugural issue of the Malaysian Association of Paediatric Dentistry journal. Furthermore, she has made significant contributions by penning five chapters for the second edition of the Paediatric Dentistry textbook, “McDonald and Avery Dentistry for the Child and Adolescent”, published in 2019.






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