Human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSC) from different origins (gingiva, periodontal ligament, fat, bone marrow) are being used to biologically characterize this complex cell population. In particular we are interested on analyzing their self-renewal ability and their potential to differentiate into bone, cartilage and fat, as well as to characterize their type of divisions (symmetric and asymmetric). Unlike other tissues or cells, the lack of appropriate surface markers prevented from establishing their hierarchy and to distinguish between the more undifferentiated cells from precursors of a given cell lineage. A better characterization of hMSC will be extremely useful for their use on regenerative therapies.
In addition, we participate on a phase I clinical trial aiming to regenerate bone defects on individuals affected of periodontitis (ISRCTN registry 13093912 doi: 10.1186/ISRCTN13093912)
This project is being carried out in collaboration with M. Sanz, UCM, Madrid, Spain.