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Bevacizumab or fibronectin gene editing inhibits the osteoclastogenic effects of fibroblasts derived from human radicular cysts

Acta Pharmacologica Sinica (2018) | Download Citation



Fibronectin (FN) is a main component of extracellular matrix (ECM) in most adult tissues. Under pathological conditions, particularly inflammation, wound healing and tumors, an alternatively spliced exon extra domain A (EDA) is included in the FN protein (EDA+FN), which facilitates cellular proliferation, motility, and aggressiveness in different lesions. In this study we investigated the effects of EDA+FN on bone destruction in human radicular cysts and explored the possibility of editing FN gene or blocking the related paracrine signaling pathway to inhibit the osteoclastogenesis. The specimens of radicular cysts were obtained from 20 patients. We showed that the vessel density was positively associated with both the lesion size (R = 0.49, P = 0.001) and EDA+FN staining (R = 0.26, P = 0.022) in the specimens. We isolated fibroblasts from surgical specimens, and used the CRISPR/Cas system to knockout the EDA exon, or used IST-9 antibody and bevacizumab to block EDA+FN and VEGF, respectively. Compared to control fibroblasts, the fibroblasts from radicular cysts exhibited significantly more Trap+MNCs, the relative expression level of VEGF was positively associated with both the ratio of EDA+FN/total FN (R = 0.271, P = 0.019) and with the number of Trap+MNCs (R = 0.331, P = 0.008). The knockout of the EDA exon significantly decreased VEGF expression in the fibroblasts derived from radicular cysts, leading to significantly decreased osteoclastogenesis; similar results were observed using bevacizumab to block VEGF, but block of EDA+FN with IST-9 antibody had no effect. Furthermore, the inhibitory effects of gene editing on Trap+MNC development were restored by exogenous VEGF. These results suggest that EDA+FN facilitates osteoclastogenesis in the fibrous capsule of radicular cysts, through a mechanism mediated by VEGF via an autocrine effect on the fibroblasts. Bevacizumab inhibits osteoclastogenesis in radicular cysts as effectively as the exclusion of the EDA exon by gene editing.

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This study was financially supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81600836) and a China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (No. 2016M591718) and Teaching Reform Foundation of Tongji University (1504104044), and the 10th Excellent Experimental Course Foundation of Tongji University.

Author contributions

H.-C.W. and Y.Z. designed the research; H.-C.W. performed the experiments; H.-C.W. and P.W. contributed new reagents or analytical tools; H.-C.W., P.W., and Y.-W.C. analyzed the data; and H.-C.W. wrote the paper.

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Author notes

  1. These authors contributed equally: Hai-cheng Wang, Peng Wang


  1. Department of Pathology, School & Hospital of Stomatology, Tongji University, Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Tooth Restoration and Regeneration, Shanghai, 200072, China

    • Hai-Cheng Wang
    •  & Yan Zhang
  2. State Key Laboratory of Oral Diseases, Dept. of Cleft Lip and Palate Surgery, West China Hospital of Stomatology, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610041, China

    • Peng Wang
  3. Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, School and Hospital of Stomatology, Tongji University, Shanghai Engineering Research Center of Tooth Restoration and Regneration, Shanghai, 200072, China

    • Yuan-wei Chen


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The authors declare no competing interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Yan Zhang.

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