Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs), which can differentiate into several types of cells, are subjected to mechanical stress by jaw movement and occlusal forces. In this study, we evaluated how the uniaxial mechanical stretch influences proliferation and differentiation of DPSCs. DPSCs were isolated and cultured from male Sprague-Dawley rats. Cultured DPSCs were identified by surface markers and the differentiation capabilities as adipocytes or osteoblasts. To examine the response to mechanical stress, uniaxial stretch was exposed to cultured DPSCs. We evaluated the impact of stretch on the intracellular signaling, proliferation, osteogenic differentiation, and gene expressions of DPSCs. Stretch increased the phosphorylation of Akt, ERK1/2, and p38 MAP kinase as well as the proliferation of DPSCs. The stretch-induced proliferation of DPSCs was abolished by the inhibition of the ERK pathway. On the other hand, stretch significantly decreased the osteogenic differentiation of DPSCs, but did not affect the adipogenic differentiation. We also confirmed mRNA expressions of osteocalcin and osteopontin were significantly suppressed by stretch. In conclusion, uniaxial stretch increased the proliferation of DPSCs, while suppressing osteogenic differentiation. These results suggest a crucial role of mechanical stretch in the preservation of DPSCs in dentin. Furthermore, mechanical stretch may be a useful tool for increasing the quantity of DPSCs in vitro for regenerative medicine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biomedical Engineering