Low-level controllable blue LEDs irradiation enhances human dental pulp stem cells osteogenic differentiation via transient receptor potential vanilloid 1

J Photochem Photobiol B. 2022 Aug;233:112472. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2022.112472. Epub 2022 May 16.


Human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) have attracted tremendous attention in tissue regeneration engineering due to their excellent multidirectional differentiation potential. Photobiomodulation (PBM) using low-level light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or lasers has been proved to promote the osteogenesis of mesenchymal stem cells. However, the effect of LEDs on osteogenic differentiation of hDPSCs has little published data. In this work, the effect of blue LEDs with different energy densities of 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 J/cm2 on osteogenic differentiation of hDPSCs was examined by using in vitro ALP staining, ALP activity, mineralization, and real-time PCR. The results showed that compared with the control group, osteogenic differentiation was significantly enhanced in blue LEDs treated groups. As the energy density increased, the level of osteogenesis initially increased and then decreased reaching the highest level at 6 J/cm2. Transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1), a Ca2+ ion channel, was believed to be a potential player in osteogenesis by photobiomodulation. By immunofluorescence assay, calcium influx assay, PCR, and ALP staining, it was shown that blue LEDs irradiation can increase the activity of TRPV1 and intracellular calcium levels similarly to the agonist of TRPV1 capsaicin. Additionally, pretreatment with capsazepine, a selective TRPV1 inhibitor, was able to abrogate the osteogenic effect of blue LEDs. In conclusion, these findings proposed that blue LEDs can promote the osteogenesis of hDPSCs within the appropriate range (4-8 J/cm2) during culture of osteogenic medium, and TRPV1/Ca2+ may be an essential signaling pathway involved in blue LEDs-induced osteogenesis, providing new insights for the use of hDPSCs in tissue regeneration engineering.

Keywords: Blue LEDs; Human dental pulp cells; Osteogenic differentiation; Photobiomodulation; TRPV1.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / radiation effects
  • Cell Proliferation / radiation effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dental Pulp
  • Humans
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells*
  • Osteogenesis* / radiation effects


  • Calcium