Biological synthesis of tooth enamel instructed by an artificial matrix

Zhan Huang, Christina J. Newcomb, Pablo Bringas, Samuel I. Stupp, Malcolm L. Snead*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The regenerative capability of enamel, the hardest tissue in the vertebrate body, is fundamentally limited due to cell apoptosis following maturation of the tissue. Synthetic strategies to promote enamel formation have the potential to repair damage, increase the longevity of teeth and improve the understanding of the events leading to tissue formation. Using a self-assembling bioactive matrix, we demonstrate the ability to induce ectopic formation of enamel at chosen sites adjacent to a mouse incisor cultured in vivo under the kidney capsule. The resulting material reveals the highly organized, hierarchical structure of hydroxyapatite crystallites similar to native enamel. This artificially triggered formation of organized mineral demonstrates a pathway for developing cell fabricated materials for treatment of dental caries, the most ubiquitous disease in man. Additionally, the artificial matrix provides a unique tool to probe cellular mechanisms involved in tissue formation further enabling the development of tooth organ replacements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9202-9211
Number of pages10
Issue number35
StatePublished - Dec 2010


  • Cell activation
  • Epithelial cell
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Peptide amphiphile
  • RGDS peptide
  • Self-assembly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biophysics
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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