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Wisdom teeth could be stem cell source

Is wisdom teeth just an annoyance for you? Well, its time to change your opinion, for according to researchers, wisdom teeth contain a valuable reservoir of tissue for the creation of stem cells.

This means that everyone might be carrying around his or her own personal stem-cell repository in case of need.

A team of scientists at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology may have found an ideal source of induced-pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) — third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth.

The soft pulp inside of teeth contains a population of cells known as mesenchymal stromal cells that are similar to cells found in bone marrow, a common stem-cell source.
However, unlike bone marrow, tooth pulp is more easily obtained, especially in wisdom teeth, which most individuals have removed anyway.

The researchers, led by Hajime Ohgushi, collected tooth samples from three donors and managed to generate a series of iPS cell lines following the similar procedure of activating three key genes.

The different cell lines displayed varying degrees of robustness but in some cases proliferated quite well, up to 100 times more efficiently than typical skin-cell-derived iPS cells.

New neurological deficit behind lazy eye identified

Scientists have identified a new neurological deficit behind amblyopia, or ‘lazy eye’. Their findings shed additional light on how amblyopia results from disrupted links between the brain and normal visual processing.

Previous research on amblyopia has largely focused on one aspect of visual processing-that in the primary visual cortex, or V1.

Researchers at New York University’s Centre for Neural Science studied a brain area called MT, which has a well-established role in processing information about moving visual objects. To do this, the researchers studied the visual processing of macaque monkeys, examining those who had normal vision and those whose vision was impaired by amblyopia.

The researchers recorded both the monkeys’ ability to detect motion and how MT’s neurons functioned in this process.

Their results showed striking changes in neuron activity in MT. In monkeys with normal vision, the MT neurons responded through both eyes.

However, in those with amblyopia, the MT neurons showed stronger response in one eye-usually the one not affected by the disorder.

Normal visual motion perception relies on neurons that integrate information about the position of moving objects as they cross the visual image.

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