Dexamethasone induces osteogenic differentiation and apoptosis of periodontal ligament stem cells

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Periodontal ligment stem cells are adult stem cells derived from dental tissues, which possess the capability of osteogenic differentiation. They are promising “seed cells” in bone tissue engineering.


To investigate the effects of osteogenic induction medium on the osteogenic differentiation and early apoptosis of periodontal ligment stem cells.


Periodontal ligment stem cells were isolated from primary periodontal ligament tissues and seeded on the plate at a density of 1×104/cm2. Osteogenic induction medium containing 1, 10 and 100 nmol/L dexamethasone, β-glycerophosphate and ascorbic acid were used. Alkaline phosphatase activity, mineral deposition staining and real time PCR were performed to assess the osteogenic capacity. AnnexinV/PI staining was used to detected apoptosis.


Dexamethasone effectively promoted osteogenic differentiation of periodontal ligment stem cells, by up-regulating alkaline phosphatase activity, enhancing mineral deposition and increasing osteogenic related gene (osteonectin and type I collagen) expression. Alkaline phosphatase activity and mineralized nodule detection showed that osteogenic effects of dexamethasone were gradient-dependent, and 100 nmol/L was the best concentration. Apoptosis detection results indicated that osteogenic differentiation of dexamethasone for periodontal ligment stem cells could also induce cell apoptosis to some extent.

Subject headings:

stem cells; periodontal ligament; dexamethasone; alkaline phosphatase; apoptosis


the Science and Technology Program of Medical Health of Zhejiang Province, No. 2011KYB003*, 2012KYB056*


Gu ZY, Zhai Q, Lü QF, Peng CX, Liu FF, Peng H. Dexamethasone induces osteogenic differentiation and apoptosis of periodontal ligament stem cells.

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