Stem cell regulatory gene expression in human adult dental pulp and periodontal ligament cells undergoing odontogenic/osteogenic differentiation

Lu Liu, Junqi Ling, Xi Wei, Liping Wu, Yin Xiao
Journal of Endodontics 2009, 35 (10): 1368-76

INTRODUCTION: During development and regeneration, odontogenesis and osteogenesis are initiated by a cascade of signals driven by several master regulatory genes.

METHODS: In this study, we investigated the differential expression of 84 stem cell-related genes in dental pulp cells (DPCs) and periodontal ligament cells (PDLCs) undergoing odontogenic/osteogenic differentiation.

RESULTS: Our results showed that, although there was considerable overlap, certain genes had more differential expression in PDLCs than in DPCs. CCND2, DLL1, and MME were the major upregulated genes in both PDLCs and DPCs, whereas KRT15 was the only gene significantly downregulated in PDLCs and DPCs in both odontogenic and osteogenic differentiation. Interestingly, a large number of regulatory genes in odontogenic and osteogenic differentiation interact or crosstalk via Notch, Wnt, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta)/bone morphogenic protein (BMP), and cadherin signaling pathways, such as the regulation of APC, DLL1, CCND2, BMP2, and CDH1. Using a rat dental pulp and periodontal defect model, the expression and distribution of both BMP2 and CDH1 have been verified for their spatial localization in dental pulp and periodontal tissue regeneration.

CONCLUSIONS: This study has generated an overview of stem cell-related gene expression in DPCs and PDLCs during odontogenic/osteogenic differentiation and revealed that these genes may interact through the Notch, Wnt, TGF-beta/BMP, and cadherin signaling pathways to play a crucial role in determining the fate of dental derived cell and dental tissue regeneration. These findings provided a new insight into the molecular mechanisms of the dental tissue mineralization and regeneration.

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