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TGF-β1 and FGF2 stimulate the epithelial-mesenchymal transition of HERS cells through a MEK-dependent mechanism.

Journal of cellular physiology (2014-03-13)
Jie Chen, Guoqing Chen, Zhiling Yan, Yongwen Guo, Mei Yu, Lian Feng, Zongting Jiang, Weihua Guo, Weidong Tian
ABSTRACT

Hertwig's epithelial root sheath (HERS) cells participate in cementum formation through epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Previous studies have shown that transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) and fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) are involved in inducing EMT. However, their involvement in HERS cell transition remains elusive. In this study, we confirmed that HERS cells underwent EMT during the formation of acellular cementum. We found that both TGF-β1 and FGF2 stimulated the EMT of HERS cells. The TGF-β1 regulated the differentiation of HERS cells into periodontal ligament fibroblast-like cells, and FGF2 directed the differentiation of HERS cells into cementoblast-like cells. Treatment with TGF-β1 or FGF2 inhibitor could effectively suppress HERS cells differential transition. Combined stimulation with both TGF-β1 and FGF-2 did not synergistically accelerate the EMT of HERS. Moreover, TGF-β1/FGF2-mediated EMT of HERS cells was reversed by the MEK1/2 inhibitor U0126. These results suggest that TGF-β1 and FGF2 induce the EMT of HERS through a MAPK/ERK-dependent signaling pathway. They also exert their different tendency of cellular differentiation during tooth root formation. This study further expands our knowledge of tooth root morphogenesis and provides more evidence for the use of alternative cell sources in clinical treatment of periodontal diseases.

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