From Pluripotent Stem Cells to Organoids and Bioprinting: Recent Advances in Dental Epithelium and Ameloblast Models to Study Tooth Biology and Regeneration

Stem Cell Rev Rep. 2024 Mar 18. doi: 10.1007/s12015-024-10702-w. Online ahead of print.


Ameloblasts are the specialized dental epithelial cell type responsible for enamel formation. Following completion of enamel development in humans, ameloblasts are lost and biological repair or regeneration of enamel is not possible. In the past, in vitro models to study dental epithelium and ameloblast biology were limited to freshly isolated primary cells or immortalized cell lines, both with limited translational potential. In recent years, large strides have been made with the development of induced pluripotent stem cell and organoid models of this essential dental lineage - both enabling modeling of human dental epithelium. Upon induction with several different signaling factors (such as transforming growth factor and bone morphogenetic proteins) these models display elevated expression of ameloblast markers and enamel matrix proteins. The advent of 3D bioprinting, and its potential combination with these advanced cellular tools, is poised to revolutionize the field - and its potential for tissue engineering, regenerative and personalized medicine. As the advancements in these technologies are rapidly evolving, we evaluate the current state-of-the-art regarding in vitro cell culture models of dental epithelium and ameloblast lineage with a particular focus toward their applicability for translational tissue engineering and regenerative/personalized medicine.

Keywords: 3D Bioprinting; Ameloblasts; Amelogenesis; Organoids; Stem Cells; Tooth Development.

Publication types

  • Review