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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01685

Dental Pulp Stem Cell Mechanoresponsiveness: Effects of Mechanical Stimuli on Dental Pulp Stem Cell behaviour

  • 1Tecnologica Research Institute and Marrelli Health, Biomedical Section, Stem Cells Unit, Crotone, Italy, Italy
  • 2School of Dentistry, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom

Dental pulp is known to be an accessible and important source of multipotent mesenchymal progenitor cells termed dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs). DPSCs can differentiate into odontoblast-like cells and maintain pulp homeostasis by the formation of new dentin which protects the underlying pulp. DPSCs similar to other MSCs reside in a niche, a complex microenvironment consisting of an extracellular matrix, other local cell types and biochemical stimuli that influence the decision between stem cell (SC) self-renewal and differentiation. In addition to biochemical factors, mechanical factors are increasingly recognized as key regulators in DPSC behaviour and function. Thus, microenvironments can significantly influence the role and differentiation of DPSCs through a combination of factors which are biochemical, biomechanical and biophysical in nature. Under in vitro conditions, it has been shown that DPSCs are sensitive to different types of force, such as uniaxial mechanical stretch, cyclic tensile strain, pulsating fluid flow, low-intensity pulsed ultrasound as well as being responsive to biomechanical cues presented in the form of micro- and nano-scale surface topographies. To understand how DPSCs sense and respond to the mechanics of their microenvironments, it is essential to determine how these cells convert mechanical and physical stimuli into function, including lineage specification. This review therefore covers some aspects of DPSC mechanoresponsivity with an emphasis on the factors that influence their behaviour. An in-depth understanding of the physical environment that influence DPSC fate is necessary to improve the outcome of their therapeutic application for tissue regeneration.

Keywords: Dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs), mechanobiology, Mechanosensing, Mechanical Properties, behaviour, Surface topography

Received: 12 Sep 2018; Accepted: 08 Nov 2018.

Edited by:

Giancarlo Ruocco, Istituto italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), Center for Life NanoScience, Italy

Reviewed by:

Henrique D. Almeida, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal
Juan G. Diaz Ochoa, PERMEDIQ GmbH, Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Marrelli, Codispoti, Shelton, Scheven, Cooper, Tatullo and Paduano. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Marco Tatullo, Tecnologica Research Institute and Marrelli Health, Biomedical Section, Stem Cells Unit, Crotone, Italy, Crotone, Italy, marco.tatullo@tecnologicasrl.com
Dr. Francesco Paduano, Tecnologica Research Institute and Marrelli Health, Biomedical Section, Stem Cells Unit, Crotone, Italy, Crotone, Italy, francesco.paduano@tecnologicasrl.com