Main content area

Lhx8 mediated Wnt and TGFβ pathways in tooth development and regeneration

Zhou, Chen, Yang, Guodong, Chen, Mo, Wang, Chenglin, He, Ling, Xiang, Lusai, Chen, Danying, Ling, Junqi, Mao, Jeremy J.
Biomaterials 2015 v.63 pp. 35-46
adults, epithelium, gene expression regulation, gene overexpression, genes, mineralization, neural crest, osteocalcin, phosphates, signal transduction, stem cells, tooth pulp, transcription (genetics), transcription factors, transforming growth factor beta
LIM homeobox 8 (Lhx8) is a highly conserved transcriptional factor with recently illustrated roles in cholinergic and GABAergic differentiation, and is expressed in neural crest derived craniofacial tissues during development. However, Lhx8 functions and signaling pathways are largely elusive. Here we showed that Lhx8 regulates dental mesenchyme differentiation and function via Wnt and TGFβ pathways. Lhx8 expression was restricted to dental mesenchyme from E11.5 to a peak at E14.5, and absent in dental epithelium. By reconstituting dental epithelium and mesenchyme in an E16.5 tooth organ, Lhx8 knockdown accelerated dental mesenchyme differentiation; conversely, Lhx8 overexpression attenuated dentin formation. Lhx8 overexpressed adult human dental pulp stem/progenitor cells in β-tricalcium phosphate cubes attenuated mineralized matrix production in vivo. Gene profiling revealed that postnatal dental pulp stem/progenitor cells upon Lhx8 overexpression modified matrix related gene expression including Dspp, Cola1 and osteocalcin. Lhx8 transcriptionally activated Wnt and TGFβ pathways, and its attenuation upregulated multiple dentinogenesis genes. Together, Lhx8 regulates dentin development and regeneration by fine-turning Wnt and TGFβ signaling.