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Stem Cell Res Ther. 2019 Jun 13;10(1):170. doi: 10.1186/s13287-019-1278-x.

Lineage-specific exosomes promote the odontogenic differentiation of human dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) through TGFβ1/smads signaling pathway via transfer of microRNAs.

Hu X1,2, Zhong Y3,4, Kong Y5,6, Chen Y3,4, Feng J3,4, Zheng J7,8.

Author information

1
Department of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, Guanghua School of Stomatology, Affiliated Stomatological Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510055, Guangdong, China. huxiaol3@mail.sysu.edu.cn.
2
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. huxiaol3@mail.sysu.edu.cn.
3
Department of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, Guanghua School of Stomatology, Affiliated Stomatological Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510055, Guangdong, China.
4
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
5
Key Laboratory of Oral Medicine, Guangzhou Institute of Oral Disease, Stomatology Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
6
Department of Endodontics, Stomatology Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China.
7
Department of Operative Dentistry and Endodontics, Guanghua School of Stomatology, Affiliated Stomatological Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, 510055, Guangdong, China. zhengjm25@mail.sysu.edu.cn.
8
Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Stomatology, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. zhengjm25@mail.sysu.edu.cn.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Exosomes derived from dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) can be used as biomimetic tools to induce odontogenic differentiation of stem cells, but the regulatory mechanisms and functions of exosome-encapsulated microRNAs are still unknown. The present study aimed to clarify the role of microRNAs contained in the exosomes derived from human DPSCs and their potential signaling cascade in odontogenic differentiation.

METHODS:

Exosomes were isolated from human DPSCs cultured undergrowth and odontogenic differentiation conditions, named UN-Exo and OD-Exo, respectively. The microRNA sequencing was performed to explore the microRNA profile contained in UN-Exo and OD-Exo. Pathway analysis was taken to detect enriched pathways associated with the predicted target genes of microRNAs. The regulatory roles of a highly expressed microRNA in OD-Exo were investigated through its inhibition or overexpression (miRNA inhibitors and miRNA mimics). Automated western blot was used to identify the function of exosomal microRNA and the roles of TGFβ1/smads pathway in odontogenic differentiation of DPSCs. A luciferase reporter gene assay was used to verify the direct target gene of exosomal miR-27a-5p.

RESULTS:

Endocytosis of OD-Exo triggered odontogenic differentiation of DPSCs by upregulating DSP, DMP-1, ALP, and RUNX2 proteins. MicroRNA sequencing showed that 28 microRNAs significantly changed in OD-Exo, of which 7 increased and 21 decreased. Pathway analysis showed genes targeted by differentially expressed microRNAs were involved in multiple signal transductions, including TGFβ pathway. 16 genes targeted by 15 differentially expressed microRNAs were involved in TGFβ signaling. Consistently, automated western blot found that OD-Exo activated TGFβ1 pathway by upregulating TGFβ1, TGFR1, p-Smad2/3, and Smad4 in DPSCs. Accordingly, once the TGFβ1 signaling pathway was inhibited by SB525334, protein levels of p-Smad2/3, DSP, and DMP-1 were significantly decreased in DPSCs treated with OD-Exo. MiR-27a-5p was expressed 11 times higher in OD-Exo, while miR-27a-5p promoted odontogenic differentiation of DPSCs and significantly upregulated TGFβ1, TGFR1, p-Smad2/3, and Smad4 by downregulating the inhibitory molecule LTBP1.

CONCLUSIONS:

The microRNA expression profiles of exosomes derived from DPSCs were identified. OD-Exo isolated under odontogenic conditions were better inducers of DPSC differentiation. Exosomal microRNAs promoted odontogenic differentiation via TGFβ1/smads signaling pathway by downregulating LTBP1.

KEYWORDS:

DPSCs; Exosomes; MicroRNAs; Odontogenesis; TGFβ pathway

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