The compound responsible for bad breath may help speed the development of stem cells from dental pulp into valuable treatments for patients.
That’s according to Japanese experts who have discovered that hydrogen sulphide, the gas responsible for the rotten egg smell and halitosis, can be harnessed in this way.
This is the first time liver cells have been produced from human dental pulp and have been produced in high numbers of high purity.
The study, in the Journal of Breath Research, investigated using it to help convert stem cells from human teeth into liver cells.
The scientists claimed the gas increased the purity of the stem cells.
The researchers at the Nippon Dental University said using the gas increased the proportion of stem cells which were converted to liver cells when used alongside other chemicals.
The idea is that liver cells produced from stem cells could be used to repair the organ if it was damaged.
Dr Ken Yaegaki, from Nippon Dental University in Japan, said: ‘High purity means there are less “wrong cells” that are being differentiated to other tissues, or remaining as stem cells.’
One of the concerns with dental pulp as a source of stem cells is the number that can be harvested.