Elisabeth Manville
Feb 27, 2012

‘Bad breath’ compound helps stem cells derived from dental pulp differentiate into liver cells

Scientists in Japan have discovered that hydrogen sulphide (H2S), the odorous compound that causes halitosis, or bad breath, increases the ability of adult stem cells to differentiate into hepatic (liver) cells. When harvesting stem cells from human dental pulp, the center part of the tooth made up of living connective tissue and cells, researchers incubated the test cells in an H2S chamber. This resulted in a large number of high purity liver cells, meaning less cells remained stem cells or differentiated into another tissue. “Until now, nobody has produced the protocol to regenerate such a huge number of hepatic cells for human transplantation. Compared to the traditional method of using fetal bovine serum to produce the cells, our method is productive and, most importantly, safe,” Dr. Ken Yaegaki, who led the study, said.