A biologically inspired thermoresponsive polymer has been developed that mechanically induces tooth differentiation in vitro and in vivo by promoting mesenchymal cell compaction as seen in each pore of the scaffold. This normally occurs during the physiological mesenchymal condensation response that triggers tooth formation in the embryo.
This work was conducted with support by grants from the NIH Common Fund (RL1DE019023 to D.E.I.), the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and partially from the DOE BES (DE-SC0005247 to J.A.). We would like to thank E. Jiang and M. Kowalski for their technical assistance and T. Ferrante for assistance in imaging.