The histone-deacetylase-inhibitor suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid promotes dental pulp repair mechanisms through modulation of matrix metalloproteinase-13 activity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Henry Duncan
  • Garry James P. Fleming
  • Nicola C. Partridge
  • Emi Shimizu
  • Gary P. Moran

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Division of Restorative Dentistry and Periodontology, Dublin Dental University Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • Department of Basic Science and Craniofacial Biology, New York University College of Dentistry, New York
  • Division of Oral Biosciences, Dublin Dental University Hospital, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • Materials Science Unit, Division of Oral Biosciences, Dublin Dental University Hospital, Lincoln Place, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Electronic address:
  • Trinity College Dublin


Direct application of histone-deacetylase-inhibitors (HDACis) to dental pulp cells (DPCs) induces chromatin changes, promoting gene expression and cellular-reparative events. We have previously demonstrated that HDACis (Valproic acid, Trichostatin A) increase mineralization in dental papillae-derived cell-lines and primary DPCs by stimulation of dentinogenic gene expression. Here, we investigated novel genes regulated by the HDACi, suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), to identify new pathways contributing to DPC differentiation. SAHA significantly compromised DPC viability only at relatively high concentrations (5μM); while low concentrations (1μM) SAHA did not increase apoptosis. HDACi-exposure for 24h induced mineralization-per-cell dose-dependently after 2 weeks; however, constant 14d SAHA-exposure inhibited mineralization. Microarray analysis (24h and 14d) of SAHA exposed cultures highlighted that 764 transcripts showed a significant >2.0-fold change at 24h, which reduced to 36 genes at 14d. 59% of genes were down-regulated at 24h and 36% at 14d, respectively. Pathway analysis indicated SAHA increased expression of members of the matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) family. Furthermore, SAHA-supplementation increased MMP-13 protein expression (7d, 14 d) and enzyme activity (48h, 14d). Selective MMP-13-inhibition (MMP-13i) dosedependently accelerated mineralization in both SAHA-treated and non-treated cultures. MMP-13isupplementation promoted expression of several mineralization-associated markers, however, HDACi induced cell migration and wound healing were impaired. Data demonstrate that short-term low-dose SAHA-exposure promotes mineralization in DPCs by modulating gene pathways and tissue proteases. MMP-13i further increased mineralization-associated events, but decreased HDACi cell migration indicating a specific role for MMP-13 in pulpal repair processes. Pharmacological inhibition of HDAC and MMP may provide novel insights into pulpal repair processes with significant translational benefit.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)798-816
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number4
Early online date11 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • Histone-deacetylase-inhibitor, Epigenetics, matrix metalloproteinase, cellular differentiation, mineralization, Gene Expression