Effects of epicatechin, a crosslinking agent, on human dental pulp cells cultured in collagen scaffolds
AbstractObjective The purpose of this study was to investigate the biological effects of epicatechin (ECN), a crosslinking agent, on human dental pulp cells (hDPCs) cultured in collagen scaffolds. Material and Method To evaluate the effects of ECN on the proliferation of hDPCs, cell counting was performed using optical and fluorescent microscopy. Measurements of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, alizarin red staining, and real-time polymerase chain reactions were performed to assess odontogenic differentiation. The compressive strength and setting time of collagen scaffolds containing ECN were measured. Differential scanning calorimetry was performed to analyze the thermal behavior of collagen in the presence of ECN. Results Epicatechin increased ALP activity, mineralized nodule formation, and the mRNA expression of dentin sialophosphoprotein (DSPP), a specific odontogenic-related marker. Furthermore, ECN upregulated the expression of DSPP in hDPCs cultured in collagen scaffolds. Epicatechin activated the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) and the treatment with an ERK inhibitor (U0126) blocked the expression of DSPP. The compressive strength was increased and the setting time was shortened in a dose-dependent manner. The number of cells cultured in the ECN-treated collagen scaffolds was significantly increased compared to the cells in the untreated control group. Conclusions Our results revealed that ECN promoted the proliferation and differentiation of hDPCs. Furthermore, the differentiation was regulated by the ERK signaling pathway. Changes in mechanical properties are related to cell fate, including proliferation and differentiation. Therefore, our study suggests the ECN treatment might be desirable for dentin-pulp complex regeneration.
Copyright (c) 2016 Journal of Applied Oral Science
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