ERK1/2 signaling mediated naringin-induced osteogenic differentiation of immortalized human periodontal ligament stem cells.
Periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs) are promising tools for the investigations of cell differentiation and bone regeneration. However, the limited life span significantly restricts their usefulness. In this study, we established an immortalized PDLSC cell line by the introduction of Bmi1 (PDLSC-Bmi1). Several genes related to cell cycle, cell replication and stemness were found to be changed with the overexpression of Bmi1. Compared with primary PDLSCs, the immortalized cells had a slower aging rate, maintained in a proliferative state without crisis for more than 30 passages, and retained the molecular markers and biological functions of primary ones. Using the PDLSC-Bmi1, we confirmed the promotive effect of naringin on osteogenesis. Naringin promoted the osteogenic differentiation of PDLSC-Bmi1 manifested as the increased activity of alkaline phosphatase (ALP), expression of the runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and osteocalcin (OCN), and formation of mineralized nodules. In addition, the extracellular regulated protein kinases (ERK) 1/2 was found to be activated by naringin, and the ERK1/2 specific inhibitor significantly inhibited naringin-induced osteogenic differentiation in PDLSC-Bmi1. Our results indicated that the overexpression of Bmi1 extended the life span of PDLSCs without perturbing their biological functions, and that naringin promoted the osteogenesis of PDLSC-Bmi1 at least partially through the ERK1/2 signaling pathway.