Mechanical forces induce odontoblastic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells on three-dimensional biomimetic scaffolds

Shunro Miyashita, Nermeen El Motaz Bellah Ahmed, Masashi Murakami, Koichiro Iohara, Tokunori Yamamoto, Hiroshi Horibe, Kenichi Kurita, Teruko Takano-Yamamoto, Misako Nakashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


The mechanical induction of cell differentiation is well known. However, the effect of mechanical compression on odontoblastic differentiation remains to be elucidated. Thus, we first determined the optimal conditions for the induction of human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) into odontoblastic differentiation in response to mechanical compression of three-dimensional (3D) scaffolds with dentinal tubule-like pores. The odontoblastic differentiation was evaluated by gene expression and confocal laser microscopy. The optimal conditions, which were: cell density, 4.0 × 105 cells/cm2; compression magnitude, 19.6 kPa; and loading time, 9 h, significantly increased expression of the odontoblast-specific markers dentine sialophosphoprotein (DSPP) and enamelysin and enhanced the elongation of cellular processes into the pores of the membrane, a typical morphological feature of odontoblasts. In addition, upregulation of bone morphogenetic protein 7 (BMP7) and wingless-type MMTV integration site family member 10a (Wnt10a) was observed. Moreover, the phosphorylation levels of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) and p38 were also enhanced by mechanical compression, indicating the involvement of the MAPK signalling pathway. It is noteworthy that human mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from bone marrow and amnion also differentiated into odontoblasts in response to the optimal mechanical compression, demonstrating the importance of the physical structure of the scaffold in odontoblastic differentiation. Thus, odontoblastic differentiation of hDPSCs is promoted by optimal mechanical compression through the MAPK signalling pathway and expression of the BMP7 and Wnt10a genes. The 3D biomimetic scaffolds with dentinal tubule-like pores were critical for the odontoblastic differentiation of MSCs induced by mechanical compression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-446
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1


  • dental pulp stem cells
  • dentinal tubules
  • mechanical compression
  • mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling pathway
  • odontoblastic differentiation
  • three-dimensional scaffold

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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