Axin2+ PDL Cells Directly Contribute to New Alveolar Bone Formation in Response to Orthodontic Tension Force. Academic Article uri icon


  • Wnt--catenin signaling plays a key role in orthodontic tooth movement (OTM), a common clinical practice for malocclusion correction. However, its targeted periodontal ligament (PDL) progenitor cells remain largely unclear. In this study, we first showed a synchronized increase in Wnt--catenin levels and Axin2+ PDL progenitor cell numbers during OTM using immunostaining of -catenin in wild-type mice and X-gal staining in the Axin2-LacZ knock-in line. Next, we demonstrated time-dependent increases in Axin2+ PDL progenitors and their progeny cell numbers within PDL and alveolar bones during OTM using a one-time tamoxifen-induced Axin2 tracing line (Axin2CreERT2/+; R26RtdTomato/+). Coimmunostaining images displayed both early and late bone markers (such as RUNX2 and DMP1) in the Axin2Lin PDL cells. Conversely, ablation of Axin2+ PDL cells via one-time tamoxifen-induced diphtheria toxin subunit A (DTA) led to a drastic decrease in osteogenic activity (as reflected by alkaline phosphatase) in PDL and alveolar bone. There was also a decrease in new bone mass and a significant reduction in the mineral apposition rate on both the control side (to a moderate degree) and the OTM side (to a severe degree). Thus, we conclude that the Axin2+ PDL cells (the Wnt-targeted key cells) are highly sensitive to orthodontic tension force and play a critical role in OTM-induced PDL expansion and alveolar bone formation. Future drug development targeting the Axin2+ PDL progenitor cells may accelerate alveolar bone formation during orthodontic treatment.

published proceedings

  • J Dent Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, K., Xu, C., Xie, X., Jing, Y., Chen, P. J., Yadav, S., ... Feng, J. Q.

complete list of authors

  • Wang, K||Xu, C||Xie, X||Jing, Y||Chen, PJ||Yadav, S||Wang, Z||Taylor, RW||Wang, J||Feng, JQ

publication date

  • January 1, 2022 11:11 AM