A novel hypoxic lncRNA, HRL-SC, promotes the proliferation and migration of human dental pulp stem cells through the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2022 Jun 28;13(1):286. doi: 10.1186/s13287-022-02970-5.


Background: Human dental pulp stem cells (hDPSCs) are critical for pulp generation. hDPSCs proliferate faster under hypoxia, but the mechanism by which long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) regulates this process is not fully understood.

Methods: Novel lncRNAs were obtained by reanalysis of transcriptome datasets from RNA-Seq under hypoxia compared with normoxia, and a differential expression analysis of target genes was performed. Bioinformatics analyses, including gene ontology analysis, Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway analysis and gene set enrichment analysis, were used to understand the function of key novel lncRNAs. hDPSCs were isolated from dental pulp tissue. EdU and scratch wound healing assays were used to detect the proliferation and migration of hDPSCs. qRT-PCR was used to detect changes in the RNA expression of selected genes. RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization, small interfering RNA, qRT-PCR and Western blot analysis were used to explore the function of key novel lncRNAs.

Results: We identified 496 novel lncRNAs in hDPSCs under hypoxia, including 45 differentially expressed novel lncRNAs. Of these, we focused on a key novel lncRNA, which we designated HRL-SC (hypoxia-responsive lncRNA in stem cells). Functional annotation revealed that HRL-SC was associated with hypoxic conditions and the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. HRL-SC was mainly located in the cytoplasm of hDPSCs and had stable high expression under hypoxia. Knockdown of HRL-SC inhibited the proliferation and migration of hDPSCs and the expression levels of PI3K/AKT-related marker proteins. Furthermore, the AKT activator SC79 partially offset the inhibitory effect caused by the knockdown, indicating that HRL-SC promoted hDPSCs through the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

Conclusions: Hypoxia-responsive lncRNA HRL-SC promotes the proliferation and migration of hDPSCs through the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway, and this understanding may facilitate the regenerative application of hDPSCs.

Keywords: Human dental pulp stem cells; Hypoxia; Proliferation and migration; lncRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / genetics
  • Dental Pulp* / cytology
  • Dental Pulp* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / genetics
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding* / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells* / cytology
  • Stem Cells* / metabolism


  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt