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Mol Cells. 2010 Nov;30(5):449-54. doi: 10.1007/s10059-010-0139-3. Epub 2010 Sep 10.

Wnt/β-catenin signaling enhances osteoblastogenic differentiation from human periodontal ligament fibroblasts.

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Department of Maxillofacial Biomedical Engineering and Institute of Oral Biology, School of Dentistry, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, 130-701, Korea.


Wnt/β-catenin signaling has been known to influence bone formation and homeostasis. In this study, we investigated the canonical Wnt signaling regulation of osteogenic differentiation from periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts. Stimulating PDL fibroblasts with lithium chloride (LiCl), a canonical Wnt activator, significantly increased mineralized nodule and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity in a time- and dose-dependent manner. LiCl up-regulated protein expression of osteogenic transcription factors, including the runt-related gene 2, Msx2, and Osterix 2, in the PDL fibroblasts. Treatment of these cells with LiCl also increased the mRNA levels of ALP, FosB, and Fra1 in a dose-dependent manner. Blockage of canonical Wnt signaling by treating the cells with DKK1 inhibited Wnt1-stimulated mRNA expression of these osteogenic factors. Furthermore, pretreatment with DKK1 reduced the ALP activity and matrix mineralization stimulated by Wnt1. Collectively, these results suggest that canonical Wnt signaling leads to the differentiation of PDL fibroblasts into osteogenic lineage with the attendant stimulation of osteogenic transcription factors.

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