, Volume 356, Issue 2, pp 369-380
Date: 28 Mar 2014

Repeated lipopolysaccharide stimulation promotes cellular senescence in human dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs)

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Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) are a type of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) characterized by multi-lineage differentiation making it an attractive choice for tissue regeneration. However, before DPSCs can be used for cell-based therapy, we have to understand their biological properties in response to intrinsic and extrinsic stimuli such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS). DPSCs were therefore stimulated with LPS and senescence was evaluated by senescence-associated β-galactosidase (SA-β-gal) staining, with cell number and cell-cycle arrest being examined by BrdU assay and flow cytometry, respectively. The morphology of DPSCs was characterized by their flat shape, increased size and increased SA-β-gal activity after repeated stimulation (3 or 6 times) with LPS. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) staining showed that the number of ROS-stained cells and the DCFH fluorescent level were higher in the LPS-treated DPSCs compared with those in the untreated DPSCs. Protein and mRNA expression levels of γ-H2A.X and p16INK4A were also increased in DPSCs with repeated LPS stimulation. We found that the LPS bound with Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and that TLR4 signaling accounted for p16INK4A expression. Further results indicated that the senescence of DPSCs stimulated repeatedly with LPS was reversed by p16INK4A short interfering RNA. The DNA damage response and p16INK4A pathways might be the main mediators of DPSC senescence induced by repeated LPS stimulation. Thus, DPSCs tend to undergo senescence after repeated activation, implying that DPSC senescence starts after many inflammatory challenges. Ultimately, these findings should lead to a better understanding of DPSC-based clinical therapy.

Xingmei Feng and Guijuan Feng contributed equally to this work.
This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 81172841, no. 81202368), the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Colleges and Universities (grant no. 09KJB320010, 10KJB320012), the “Top Six Types of Talents” Financial Assistance of Jiangsu Province (grant no. 6, no. 7), the Jiangsu Province’s Outstanding Medical Academic Leader Program (LJ201135, LJ201136), the Science Foundation of Nantong City (grant no. HS2011054), a project from the Bureau of Jiangsu Province (Z2010005) and Preventive Medicine Projects from the Bureau of Jiangsu Province (Y2012083).