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Fibrous Topography-Potentiated Canonical Wnt Signaling Directs the Odontoblastic Differentiation of Dental Pulp-Derived Stem Cells

Rahman, Saeed Ur, Oh, Joung-Hwan, Cho, Young-Dan, Chung, Shin Hye, Lee, Gene, Baek, Jeong-Hwa, Ryoo, Hyun-Mo, Woo, Kyung Mi
ACS applied materials & interfaces 2018 v.10 no.21 pp. 17526-17541
alizarin, alkaline phosphatase, beta catenin, cell differentiation, culture dishes, enzyme activity, humans, lithium chloride, mice, nanofibers, osteoblasts, osteocalcin, polystyrenes, staining, stem cells, tissue repair, tooth pulp, transcription (genetics)
Nanofibrous engineered matrices have significant potential in cellular differentiation and tissue regeneration. Stem cells require specific extracellular signals that lead to the induction of different lineages. However, the mechanisms by which the nanofibrous matrix promotes mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) differentiation are largely unknown. Here, we investigated the mechanisms that underlie nanofibrous matrix-induced odontoblastic differentiation of human dental pulp MSCs (DP-MSCs). An electrospun polystyrene nanofibrous (PSF) matrix was prepared, and the cell responses to the PSF matrix were assessed in comparison with those on conventional tissue culture dishes. The PSF matrix promoted the expression of Wnt3a, Wnt5a, Wnt10a, BMP2, BMP4, and BMP7 in the DP-MSCs, concomitant with the induction of odontoblast/osteoblast differentiation markers, dentin sialophosphoprotein (DSPP), osteocalcin, and bone sialoprotein, whose levels were further enhanced by treatment with recombinant Wnt3a. The DP-MSCs cultured on the PSF matrix also exhibited a high alkaline phosphatase activity and intense Alizarin Red staining, indicating that the PSF matrix promotes odontoblast differentiation. Besides inducing the expression of Wnt3a, the PSF matrix maintained high levels of β-catenin protein and enhanced its translocation to the nucleus, leading to its transcriptional activity. Forced expression of LEF1 or treatments with LiCl further enhanced the DSPP expression. Blocking the Wnt3a-initiated signaling abrogated the PSF-induced DSPP expression. Furthermore, the cells on the PSF matrix increased the DSPP promoter activity. The β-catenin complex was bound to the conserved motifs on the DSPP promoter dictating its transcription. Transplantations of the preodontoblast-seeded PSF matrix to the subcutaneous tissues of nude mice confirmed the association of the PSF matrix with the Wnt3a and DSPP expressions in vivo. Taken together, these results demonstrate the nanofibrous engineered matrix strongly supports odontoblastic differentiation of DP-MSCs by enhancing Wnt/β-catenin signaling.