Cinnamaldehyde protects human dental pulp cells against oxidative stress through the Nrf2/HO-1-dependent antioxidant response
Cinnamaldehyde (CA) has various functional properties, such as anti-cancer, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-oxidant activities. This study examined the intracellular signaling mechanisms of CA on the oxidative stress response in human dental pulp cells (hDPCs). The results showed that CA did not have any cell cytotoxicity or cause morphological changes at concentrations up to 50 μM. A CA treatment strongly up-regulated the cellular protein level of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) and promoted Nrf2 translocation to the nucleus. CA-mediated Nrf2/HO-1 activation reduced the level of reactive oxygen species and protected the hDPCs from H2O2-induced oxidative stress, which induces apoptosis. Moreover, HO-1 depletion by siRNA attenuated the CA-mediated cell protection against oxidative stress. These results indicate that CA protects hDPCs dysfunction under oxidative stress conditions, and this effect is mediated by Nrf2 activation and the up-regulation of HO-1. Overall, these observations suggest that CA is a potential therapeutic agent for cell protection against oxidative stress.