Hydrogen sulfide increases hepatic differentiation in tooth-pulp stem cells

J Breath Res. 2012 Mar;6(1):017103. doi: 10.1088/1752-7155/6/1/017103. Epub 2012 Feb 27.


The toxicity of hydrogen sulfide (H(2)S), an oral malodorous compound, is well reported. We have recently established an experimental model of hepatic differentiation from human tooth-pulp stem cells (HTPC) using serum-free medium. The objective of the present study is to determine the effect of H(2)S on hepatic differentiation. The CD117 positive cell fraction was obtained from deciduous HTPC using magnetic cell sorting. After 3-4 passages, cells were grown in Dulbecco's modified Eagle's medium supplemented with insulin-transferrin-selenium-x (ITS-x), embryotrophic factor (ETF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) for hepatic commitment (five days). For hepatic differentiation the cells were cultured in Iscove's modified Dulbecco's medium supplemented with ITS-x, ETF, oncostatin, HGF and dexamethasone for 15 days in air containing 5% CO(2), with or without H(2)S at 0.05 ng ml(-1). Cells were assayed for the expression of hepatic markers α-fetoprotein, albumin or carbamoyl phosphate synthetase, and urea concentrations and glycogen synthesis were also determined. The panel of hepatic markers was expressed more in the test groups exposed to H(2)S than in the control groups. Urea and glycogen production were also increased, especially glycogen which was approximately five times greater compared to the control (p < 0.01). We concluded that H(2)S at physiological concentrations increased the ability of HTPC to undergo hepatogenic differentiation.

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects*
  • Dental Pulp / cytology
  • Dental Pulp / drug effects*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Sulfide / pharmacology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Tooth, Deciduous / cytology*
  • Tooth, Deciduous / drug effects


  • Biomarkers
  • Hydrogen Sulfide