Background: To investigate the odonto-immunomodulatory properties of dental pulp stem cell-derived small extracellular vesicles (DPSCs-sEV), which promote odontogenesis by switching macrophages toward the pro-healing M2 phenotype.
Methods: MicroRNA sequencing was carried out for microRNA profiling of DPSCs-sEV. Automated Western blot, qPCR, ELISA, and flow cytometry were performed to identify the functions of microRNA-enriched DPSCs-sEV in macrophages. A luciferase reporter gene assay was carried out to confirm exosomal miR-125a-3p's direct target gene. DPSCs-sEV-stimulated macrophage-conditioned media were used to promote odontogenesis in DPSCs and explore the mechanism of immune response in DPSCs-SEV-stimulated odontogenesis. DPSCs-sEV were injected into the exposed pulp tissue of rat incisor to investigate the odonto-immunomodulatory properties of DPSCs-sEV in vivo.
Results: DPSCs-sEV switched macrophages to the pro-healing M2 phenotype by inhibiting TLR and NFκΒ signaling. MicroRNA sequencing found 81 microRNAs significantly altered in DPSCS-sEV, with miR-125a-3p showing a 12-fold upregulation. Exosomal miR-125a-3p switched macrophages toward the M2 phenotype via inhibiting NFκΒ and TLR signaling via direct IKBKB targeting. Interestingly, DPSCs-sEV and the encapsulated miR-125a-3p enhanced BMP2 release in macrophages, promoting odontogenesis in DPSCs through BMP2 pathway activation. The rat study confirmed that DPSCs-sEV could be used as ideal biomimetic tools to enhance odontogenesis by switching macrophages toward pro-healing M2 cells.
Conclusions: We firstly defined the odonto-immunomodulatory properties of microRNA-enriched DPSCs-sEV, which could be used as ideal biomimetic tools to enhance odontogenesis by switching macrophages toward the pro-healing M2 phenotype.
Keywords: Dental pulp stem cells; Macrophages; MicroRNAs; Odonto-immunomodulation; Odontogenesis; Small extracellular vesicles.