The Role of Pannexin3-Modified Human Dental Pulp-Derived Mesenchymal Stromal Cells in Repairing Rat Cranial Critical-Sized Bone Defects

Fangfang Song, Hualing Sun, Liyuan Huang, Dongjie Fu, Cui Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aims: Human dental pulp-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (hDPSCs) are promising seed cells for tissue engineering due to their easy accessibility and multi-lineage differentiation. Pannexin3 (Panx3) plays crucial roles during bone development and differentiation. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of Panx3 on osteogenesis of hDPSCs and the underlying mechanism. Methods: Utilizing qRT-PCR, Western blot, and immunohistochemistry, we explored the change of Panx3 during osteogenic differentiation of hDPSCs. Next, hDPSCs with loss (Panx3 knockdown) and gain (Panx3 overexpression) of Panx3 function were developed to investigate the effects of Panx3 on osteogenic differentiation of hDPSC and the underlying mechanism. Finally, a commercial β-TCP scaffold carrying Panx3-modified hDPSCs was utilized to evaluate bone defect repair. Results: Panx3 was upregulated during osteogenic differentiation in a time-dependent manner. Panx3 overexpression promoted osteogenic differentiation of hDPSCs, whereas depletion of Panx3 resulted in a decline of differentiation, evidenced by upregulated expression of mineralization-related markers, increased alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, and enhanced ALP and Alizarin red staining. Panx3 was found to interact with the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, forming a negative feedback loop. However, Wnt/β-catenin did not contribute to enhancement of osteogenic differentiation as observed in Panx3 overexpression. Moreover, Panx3 promoted osteogenic differentiation of hDPSCs via increasing ERK signaling pathway. Micro-CT and histological staining results showed that Panx3-modified hDPSCs significantly improved ossification of critical-sized bone defects. Conclusion: These findings suggest that Panx3 is a crucial modulator of hDPSCs differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2174-2188
Number of pages15
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Bone tissue engineering
  • Critical-sized bone defect
  • ERK
  • Human dental pulp-derived mesenchymal stromal cells
  • Pannexin3
  • Wnt/β-catenin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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