Regenerative therapy to replace missing teeth is a critical area of research. Functional bioengineered teeth have been produced by the organ germ method using mouse tooth germ cells. However, these bioengineered teeth are significantly smaller in size and exhibit an abnormal crown shape when compared with natural teeth. The proper sizes and shapes of teeth contribute to their normal function. Therefore, a method is needed to control the morphology of bioengineered teeth. Here, we investigated whether insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) can regulate the sizes and shapes of bioengineered teeth, and assessed underlying mechanisms of such regulation. IGF1 treatment significantly increased the size of bioengineered tooth germs, while preserving normal tooth histology. IGF1-treated bioengineered teeth, which were developed from bioengineered tooth germs in subrenal capsules and jawbones, showed increased sizes and cusp numbers. IGF1 increased the number of fibroblast growth factor (Fgf4)-expressing enamel knots in bioengineered tooth germs and enhanced the proliferation and differentiation of dental epithelial and mesenchymal cells. This study is the first to reveal that IGF1 increases the sizes and cusp numbers of bioengineered teeth via the induction of enamel knot formation, as well as the proliferation and differentiation of dental epithelial and mesenchymal cells.
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