Hyperbaric oxygen promotes osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells by regulating Wnt3a/β-catenin signaling—an in vitro and in vivo study

Song-Shu Lin, Steve W N Ueng, Chi-Chien Niu, Li-Jen Yuan, Chuen-Yung Yang, Wen-Jer Chen, Mel S Lee, Jan-Kan Chen
Stem Cell Research 2014, 12 (1): 260-74
We hypothesized that the effect of hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) on bone formation is increased via osteogenic differentiation of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs), which is regulated by Wnt3a/β-catenin signaling. Our in vitro data showed that HBO increased cell proliferation, Wnt3a production, LRP6 phosphorylation, and cyclin D1 expression in osteogenically differentiated BMSCs. The mRNA and protein levels of Wnt3a, β-catenin, and Runx2 were upregulated while those of GSK-3β were downregulated after HBO treatment. The relative density ratio (phospho-protein/protein) of Akt and GSK-3β was both up-regulated while that of β-catenin was down-regulated after HBO treatment. We next investigated whether HBO affects the accumulation of β-catenin. Our Western blot analysis showed increased levels of translocated β-catenin that stimulated the expression of target genes after HBO treatment. HBO increased TCF-dependent transcription, Runx2 promoter/Luc gene activity, and the expression of osteogenic markers of BMSCs, such as alkaline phosphatase activity, type I collagen, osteocalcin, calcium, and the intensity of Alizarin Red staining. HBO dose dependently increased the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP2) and osterix production. We further demonstrated that HBO increased the expression of vacuolar-ATPases, which stimulated Wnt3a secretion from BMSCs. Finally, we showed that the beneficial effects of HBO on bone formation were related to Wnt3a/β-catenin signaling in a rabbit model by histology, mechanical testing, and immunohistochemical assays. Accordingly, we concluded that HBO increased the osteogenic differentiation of BMSCs by regulating Wnt3a secretion and signaling.

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