Increased Expression of miR-7a-5p and miR-592 during Expansion of Rat Dental Pulp Stem Cells and Their Implication in Osteogenic Differentiation

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Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs) possess strong osteogenic differentiation potential and are promising cell sources in regenerative medicine. However, such differentiation capacity progressively declines during their in vitro expansion. MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in modulating stem cell differentiation. This study aimed (1) to determine if miR-7a-5p and miR-592 are involved in maintaining and regulating osteogenic differentiation of DPSCs, and (2) to explore their potential regulatory pathways. We found that the expression of miR-7a-5p and miR-592 was significantly upregulated during the expansion of rat DPSCs (rDPSCs). Overexpression of these miRNAs inhibited the osteogenic/odontogenic differentiation of rDPSCs, as evidenced by calcium deposition and osteogenic/odontogenic gene expression. RT-qPCR determined that miR-592 could downregulate heat shock protein B8, whose expression is reduced during the expansion of rDPSCs. Furthermore, RNA-seq and bioinformatics analysis identified significant signaling pathways of miR-7a-5p and miR-592 in regulating osteogenic differentiation, including TNF, MAPK, and PI3K-Akt pathways. We conclude that upregulating miR-7a-5p and miR-592 suppresses the osteogenic differentiation of rDPSCs during their in vitro expansion, likely via TNF, MAPK, and PI3K-Akt pathways. The results may shed light on application of miR-7a-5p and miR-592 for maintaining osteo-differentiation potential in stem cells for bone regeneration and bone-related disease treatment.

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Cells, tissues, organs

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