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Journal Article

Wnt1 promotes cementum and alveolar bone growth in a time-dependent manner


Kaucka,  M.
Max Planck Research Group Craniofacial Biology (Kaucka Petersen), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Nottmeier, C., Liao, N., Simon, A., Decker, M., Luther, J., Schweizer, M., et al. (2021). Wnt1 promotes cementum and alveolar bone growth in a time-dependent manner. Journal of Dental Research, 100(13), 1501-1509. doi:10.1177/00220345211012386.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0009-F817-6
The WNT/β-catenin signaling pathway plays a central role in the biology of the periodontium, yet the function of specific extracellular WNT ligands remains poorly understood. By using a Wnt1-inducible transgenic mouse model targeting Col1a1-expressing alveolar osteoblasts, odontoblasts, and cementoblasts, we demonstrate that the WNT ligand WNT1 is a strong promoter of cementum and alveolar bone formation in vivo. We induced Wnt1 expression for 1, 3, or 9 wk in Wnt1Tg mice and analyzed them at the age of 6 wk and 12 wk. Micro–computed tomography (CT) analyses of the mandibles revealed a 1.8-fold increased bone volume after 1 and 3 wk of Wnt1 expression and a 3-fold increased bone volume after 9 wk of Wnt1 expression compared to controls. In addition, the alveolar ridges were higher in Wnt1Tg mice as compared to controls. Nondecalcified histology demonstrated increased acellular cementum thickness and cellular cementum volume after 3 and 9 wk of Wnt1 expression. However, 9 wk of Wnt1 expression was also associated with periodontal breakdown and ectopic mineralization of the pulp. The composition of this ectopic matrix was comparable to those of cellular cementum as demonstrated by quantitative backscattered electron imaging and immunohistochemistry for noncollagenous proteins. Our analyses of 52-wk-old mice after 9 wk of Wnt1 expression revealed that Wnt1 expression affects mandibular bone and growing incisors but not molar teeth, indicating that Wnt1 influences only growing tissues. To further investigate the effect of Wnt1 on cementoblasts, we stably transfected the cementoblast cell line (OCCM-30) with a vector expressing Wnt1-HA and performed proliferation as well as differentiation experiments. These experiments demonstrated that Wnt1 promotes proliferation but not differentiation of cementoblasts. Taken together, our findings identify, for the first time, Wnt1 as a critical regulator of alveolar bone and cementum formation, as well as provide important insights for harnessing the WNT signal pathway in regenerative dentistry.