p38a MAPK is involved in BMP-2-induced odontoblastic differentiation of human dental pulp cells

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Abstract

Aim

To investigate whether the p38α mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) is involved in bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-2-induced odontoblastic differentiation of human dental pulp cells (HDPCs).

Methodology

Recombinant retrovirus encoding shRNA against p38α MAPK was constructed to investigate the role of p38α MAPK on BMP-2-induced odontoblastic differentiation of HDPCs. HDPCs were transfected with retrovirus expressing sh-p38α. Activation of p38α MAPK was detected by Western blot. The effects of p38α MAPK on BMP-2-induced odontoblastic differentiation of HDPCs were measured by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and the expression of odontoblastic markers was identified by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction analysis. The effect of SD-282, a p38a-specific inhibitor, on BMP-2-induced odontoblastic differentiation was also investigated.

Results

BMP-2 dose- and time-dependently upregulated phosphorylation of p38α of HDPCs. Compared with BMP-2-treatment group, gene knock-down of p38α MAPK significantly inhibited ALP activity and the formation of mineralized nodules in HDPCs. Moreover, suppression of p38α MAPK repressed the odontoblastic differentiation in HDPCs. Consistently, inhibition of p38α by SD-282 also decreased odontoblastic differentiation.

Conclusions

p38α MAPK is involved in BMP-2-induced odontoblastic differentiation of HDPCs.

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