p38 MAP Kinase-Mediated Odontogenic Differentiation of Dental Pulp Stem Cells

p38 MAP Kinase-Mediated Odontogenic Differentiation of Dental Pulp Stem Cells

Author Info

Corresponding Author
Seung Chung
Department of Oral Biology, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois , USA


The multipotent nature of dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) promises regenerative endodontic potentials. Alterations in microenvironment have been shown to control the differentiation phenotypes of DPSCs. Understanding the biological mechanisms and finding the optimal DPSC differentiation protocols are crucial for successful DPSC engineering strategies in pulp and dentin healing. The aim of this study is to identify the role of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38) under normal and oxygen-deprived conditions (2%) to reveal its effect on odontogenic DPSC differentiation. Human DPSCs were isolated from healthy molars and underwent odontogenic differentiation in regular and osteogenic media treated with SB203580, a p38 inhibitor, for 72 hours, and then swapped with osteogenic media for 21 days under hypoxic condition. Immunochemistry and PCR analysis for the various odontogenic differentiation genes and proteins were performed. Our PCR data demonstrate that p38 inhibition resulted in a significant upregulation in odontogenic gene expressions such as DMP-1, DSPP, RUNX, and OSX in normal conditions. Under hypoxia, this effect was reversed. These results were further supported by DSPP immunohistochemistry. The DSPP expression under hypoxia was significantly weaker compared to the control. Our results indicate that p38 represents a negative regulator of the odontogenic DPSC differentiation in normoxia. Under hypoxia, p38 exerts a positive function of DPSC differentiation. Taken together, we identified the p38 and oxygen level as crucial factors to control odontogenic DPSC differentiation providing their essential roles in designing for successful pulp-dentin complex engineering strategies.

Article Info

Article Type
Research Article
Publication history
Received: Thu 28, May 2020
Accepted: Wed 10, Jun 2020
Published: Fri 03, Jul 2020
© 2023 Seung Chung. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Hosting by Science Repository.
DOI: 10.31487/j.RGM.2020.02.03