Cyclic tensile stress promotes osteogenic differentiation of adipose stem cells via ERK and p38 pathways.
AbstractThe present study aimed to elucidate whether extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 (ERK1/2) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinases pathways participate in the transduction of mechanical stretch exerted on adipose stem cells (ASCs) into intracellular osteogenic signals, and if so whether both pathways have time-dependent feature. Rat ASCs were cultured in osteogenic medium for 72 h and assigned into three sets, namely ERK1/2 inhibitor treated set, p38 inhibitor treated set, and the control set. After inhibitor treatment, all cells were subjected to cyclic stretch(2000 με, 1 Hz) on a four-point bending mechanical loading device. Protein and mRNA samples were acquired at six time points: 0, 15 min, 30 min, 1 h, 2 h and 6 h. Western blot showed phosphorylation level of ERK1/2 was elevated by cyclic tensile stress at all time points, while p38 at 15 min, 30 min and 1 h, and the elevation can be completely blocked by corresponding inhibitors. The treatment by ERK1/2 inhibitor was shown to antagonize the up-regulation of osteogenic genes bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2) and runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) by mechanical stretch at 15 min and 6 h, whereas p38 inhibitor took effect at 15 min only. The results suggested both ERK and p38 could be positive mediators of stretch-induced osteogenic differentiation of ASCs, and ERK stimulate the stretch-induced osteogenic differentiation at both early and late stages while p38 responds to mechanical stretch in a more rapid fashion.