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Penn Dental Study Unraveling How Gum Tissue Stem Cells Accelerate Wound Healing



Songtao Shi, DDS, MS, PhD

Chair and Professor

Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology

Researchers at Penn Dental Medicine set out to determine whether and how GMSCs play a role in accelerated wound healing. Their results, indicating that these cells secrete tiny vesicles packed with signaling proteins, point the way forward for therapeutic strategies that could treat delayed wound healing and other conditions that involve an overactive inflammatory response, such as autoimmune diseases.

"This study represents the convergence of different paths we've been exploring," says Songtao Shi, chair and professor of Penn Dental Medicine's Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and the study's senior author. "First, we know that the healing process is different in the mouth; it's much faster than in the skin. Second, we discovered in 2009 that the gingiva contains mesenchymal stem cells and that they can do a lot of good therapeutically. And, third, we know that mesenchymal stem cells release a lot of proteins. So we asked, How are the gingival mesenchymal stem cells releasing all of these materials, and are they accelerating wound healing in the mucosal tissues