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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 235941, 12 pages
Research Article

Diverse Effects of Lead Nitrate on the Proliferation, Differentiation, and Gene Expression of Stem Cells Isolated from a Dental Origin

1Department of Conservative Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2Hygieia Innovation Sdn. Bhd, Lot 1G-2G, Komplex Lanai, No. 2, Persiaran Seri Perdana, Persint 10, 62250 Putrajaya, Malaysia
3Department of Children’s Dentistry and Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Malaya, 50603 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Received 7 August 2013; Accepted 27 October 2013; Published 28 January 2014

Academic Editors: C. Garcia, C. Montoliu, J.-M. Sabatier, and A. Yasutake

Copyright © 2014 Mariam Abdullah et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Lead (Pb2+) exposure continues to be a significant public health problem. Therefore, it is vital to have a continuous epidemiological dataset for a better understanding of Pb2+ toxicity. In the present study, we have exposed stem cells isolated from deciduous and permanent teeth, periodontal ligament, and bone marrow to five different types of Pb2+ concentrations (160, 80, 40, 20, and 10 µM) for 24 hours to identify the adverse effects of Pb2+ on the proliferation, differentiation, and gene expression on these cell lines. We found that Pb2+ treatment altered the morphology and adhesion of the cells in a dose-dependent manner. There were no significant changes in terms of cell surface phenotypes. Cells exposed to Pb2+ continued to differentiate into chondrogenesis and adipogenesis, and a severe downregulation was observed in osteogenesis. Gene expression studies revealed a constant expression of key markers associated with stemness (Oct 4, Rex 1) and DNA repair enzyme markers, but downregulation occurred with some ectoderm and endoderm markers, demonstrating an irregular and untimely differentiation trail. Our study revealed for the first time that Pb2+ exposure not only affects the phenotypic characteristics but also induces significant alteration in the differentiation and gene expression in the cells.