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Simvastatin induces the osteogenic differentiation of human periodontal ligament stem cells.

Fundamental & clinical pharmacology (2013-10-12)
Bing-jiao Zhao, Yue-hua Liu
ABSTRACT

Periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs) are considered as potential mesenchymal stem cell sources for future clinical applications in periodontal regeneration therapy. Simvastation, widely used for lowering serum cholesterol, is known to have a bone stimulatory effect. However, it is not clear whether simvastation affects the differentiation of PDLSCs. This study examined the effects of simvastatin on human PDLSCs in vitro and in vivo. Using the limiting dilution technique, human PDLSCs were isolated and expanded. PDLSCs were cultured with simvastatin (0.01-10 μM), and the proliferation was measured. The osteogenic differentiation was characterized by alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity and Alizarin Red-S staining for calcium deposition. The gene expression levels of osteogenic markers were evaluated by RT-PCR. In addition, PDLSCs were transplanted into nude mice with ceramic bovine bone powders as carriers to observe the capacity of mineralized tissue formation in vivo. Simvastatin at concentrations <1 μM did not suppress the proliferation of PDLSCs. After the administration of 0.1 μM simvastatin, the expression of ALP, bone sialoprotein, and bone morphogenetic protein-2 genes were significantly upregulated, and the ALP activity and mineralized nodule formation were significantly higher in the simvastatin-treated cells than the control cells. In addition, the in vivo transplantation results showed that simvastatin treatment promoted the degree of mineralized tissue formation. Collectively, simvastatin has positive effects on osteogenic differentiation of human PDLSCs in vitro and in vivo. This suggests that simvastatin might be a useful osteogenic induction agent for periodontal bone regeneration.

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