Developing a tooth in situ organ culture model for dental and periodontal regeneration research

Reem El-Gendy*, Sarah Junaid, Stephen Lam, Karen Elson, joanne Tipper, Richard Hall, Eileen Ingham, Jennifer Kirkham

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study we have realized the need for an organ culture tooth in situ model to simulate the tooth structure especially the tooth attachment apparatus. The importance of such a model is to open avenues for investigating regeneration of the complex tooth and tooth attachment tissues and to reduce the need for experimental animals in investigating dental materials and treatments in the future. The aim of this study was to develop a porcine tooth in situ organ culture model and a novel bioreactor suitable for future studies of periodontal regeneration, including application of appropriate physiological loading. The Objectives of this study was to establish tissue viability, maintenance of tissue structure, and model sterility after 1 and 4 days of culture. To model diffusion characteristics within the organ culture system and design and develop a bioreactor that allows tooth loading and simulation of the chewing cycle. Methods: Twenty-one porcine first molars were dissected aseptically in situ within their bony sockets. Twelve were used to optimize sterility and determine tissue viability. The remainder were used in a 4-day organ culture study in basal medium. Sterility was determined for medium samples and swabs taken from all tissue components, using standard aerobic and anaerobic microbiological cultures. Tissue viability was determined at days 1 and 4 using an XTT assay and Glucose consumption assays. Maintenance of structure was confirmed using histology and histomorphometric analysis. Diffusion characteristics were investigated using micro-CT combined with finite element modeling. A suitable bioreactor was designed to permit longer term culture with application of mechanical loading to the tooth in situ. Result: XTT and Glucose consumption assays confirmed viability throughout the culture period for all tissues investigated. Histological and histomorphometric analysis confirmed maintenance of tissue structure. Clear microbiological cultures indicated maintenance of sterility within the organ culture system. The novel bioreactor showed no evidence of medium contamination after 4 days of culture. Finite element modeling indicated nutrient availability to the periodontium. Conclusion: A whole tooth in situ organ culture system was successfully maintained over 4 days in vitro.

Original languageEnglish
Article number581413
JournalFrontiers In Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

© 2021 El-Gendy, Junaid, Lam, Elson, Tipper, Hall, Ingham and Kirkham. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.


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