UCLA researchers in the Departments of Dentistry and Chemistry have developed a novel biomimetic and degradable periodontal polymer membrane for use in guided tissue regeneration.
Periodontitis is a chronic destructive inflammatory disease of tooth-supporting tissue that affects more than 64 million American adults, with inadequate treatment leading to loosening and loss of teeth. Treatment involves surgical installation of a periodontal membrane, which prevents gum recession and allows ligament and bone to repopulate the root of the tooth during the healing process. Current membranes are non-absorbable and require a second operation for removal after healing; degradable membranes based on animal-derived collagen have been developed, but these suffer from poor mechanical properties and immunological responses due to foreign proteins. There is therefore significant need for novel periodontal membranes with tunable physical and biological properties.
Professor Moshaverinia and coworkers have developed a series of degradable membranes with tunable mechanical and biological properties for the treatment of periodontitis. These polyester-based nanofibrous membranes are coated with polydopamine, an adhesive protein mimic. Biological growth factors can be bound to the membrane for improved bone growth, and mineral deposition on the coated membranes leads to enhanced differentiation of stem cells. Additionally, micropatterns on the membrane allow for fine control over the localization and differentiation of cells in the healing areas. The novel membranes can be used to culture stem cells and their half-life can be tuned from 50 to 10 days.
Periodontal membranes have been developed and treated with cytokines and growth factors. Dental-derived human stem cells have been successfully cultured on these membranes and been shown to differentiate into bone cells (osteoblasts) within 2-4 weeks.