Scientific reports

Maternal diabetes modulates dental epithelial stem cells proliferation and self-renewal in offspring through apurinic/apyrimidinicendonuclease 1-mediated DNA methylation.

PMID 28094306


Maternal gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) has many adverse effects on the development of offspring. Aberrant DNA methylation is a potential mechanism associated with these effects. However, the effects of GDM on tooth development and the underlying mechanisms have not been thoroughly investigated. In the present study, a GDM rat model was established and incisor labial cervical loop tissue and dental epithelial stem cells (DESCs) were harvested from neonates of diabetic and control dams. GDM significantly suppressed incisor enamel formation and DESCs proliferation and self-renewal in offspring. Gene expression profiles showed that Apex1 was significantly downregulated in the offspring of diabetic dams. In vitro, gain and loss of function analyses showed that APEX1 was critical for DESCs proliferation and self-renewal and Oct4 and Nanog regulation via promoter methylation. In vivo, we confirmed that GDM resulted in significant downregulation of Oct4 and Nanog and hypermethylation of their promoters. Moreover, we found that APEX1 modulated DNA methylation by regulating DNMT1 expression through ERK and JNK signalling. In summary, our data suggest that GDM-induced APEX1 downregulation increased DNMT1 expression, thereby inhibiting Oct4 and Nanog expression, through promoter hypermethylation, resulting in suppression of DESCs proliferation and self-renewal, as well as enamel formation.