Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) are multipotent stem cells with wide-ranging clinical applications due to their ability to regenerate tissue from mesenchymal origin and their capability of suppressing immune responses, thus reducing the likelihood of graft versus host disease after transplantation. MSCs can be isolated from a variety of sources including bone marrow, adipose tissue, umbilical cord blood, and immature teeth. Dental stem cells (DSC) possess progenitor and immunomodulatory abilities as the other MSC types and because they can be easily isolated, are considered as attractive therapeutic agents in regenerative dentistry. Recently, it has been shown that DSCs seeded onto newly developed synthetic biomaterial scaffolds have retained their potential for proliferation and at the same time have enhanced capabilities for differentiation and immunosuppression. The scaffolds are becoming more efficient at MSC priming as researchers learn how short peptide sequences alter the adhesive and proliferative capabilities of the scaffolds by stimulating or inhibiting classical osteogenic pathways. New findings on how to modulate the inflammatory microenvironment, which can prime DSCs for differentiation, combined with the use of next generation scaffolds may significantly improve their therapeutic potential. In this review, we summarize current findings regarding DSCs as a potential regenerative therapy, including stem cell priming with inflammatory cytokines, types of scaffolds currently being explored and the modulation of scaffolds to regulate immune response and promote growth.
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