Cementoblasts, located on the tooth root surface covered with cementum, are considered to have tooth protecting abilities. They prevent tissue damage and secure teeth anchorage inside the periodontal ligament during mechanical stress. However, the involvement of cementoblasts in mechanical compression induced periodontal remodeling needs to be identified and better understood. Here, we investigated the effect of static compressive stimulation, simulating the compression side of orthodontic force and cell confluence on a murine cementoblast cell line (OC/CM). The influence of cell confluence in cementoblast cells was analyzed by MTS assay and immunostaining. Furthermore, mRNA and protein expression were investigated by real-time RT-PCR and western blotting at different confluence grades and after mechanical stimulation. We observed that cementoblast cell proliferation increases with increasing confluence grades, while cell viability decreases in parallel. Gene expression of remodeling markers is regulated by compressive force. In addition, cementoblast confluence plays a crucial role in this regulation. Confluent cementoblasts show a significantly higher basal expression of Bsp, Osterix, Alpl, Vegfa, Mmp9, Tlr2 and Tlr4 compared to sub-confluent cells. After compressive force of 48 h at 60% confluence, an upregulation of Bsp, Osterix, Alpl, Vegf and Mmp9 is observed. In contrast, at high confluence, all analyzed genes were downregulated through mechanical stress. We also proved a regulation of ERK, phospho-ERK and phospho-AKT dependent on compressive force. In summary, our findings provide evidence that cementoblast physiology and metabolism is highly regulated in a cell confluence-dependent manner and by mechanical stimulation.
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