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Infect Immun. 2001 Jul;69(7):4493-501.

Porphyromonas gingivalis gingipain-R enhances interleukin-8 but decreases gamma interferon-inducible protein 10 production by human gingival fibroblasts in response to T-cell contact.

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  • 1Department of Preventive Dentistry, School of Dental Medicine, University of Geneva, 1211 Geneva 14, Switzerland.


Proteases produced by Porphyromonas gingivalis, an oral pathogen, are considered important virulence factors and may affect the responses of cells equipped with proteinase-activated receptors. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of the arginine-specific cysteine protease gingipain-R produced by P. gingivalis on chemokine production by human gingival fibroblasts (HGF) and the effect of gingipain-R treatment on the subsequent contact-dependent activation of HGF by T cells. HGF incubated in the presence of purified 47-kDa gingipain-R showed increased levels of interleukin-8 (IL-8) mRNA. Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) mRNA was also induced. Further exposure of HGF to activated T cells resulted in the dose- and time-dependent enhancement of IL-8 transcription and release. T-cell membrane-bound tumor necrosis factor (TNF) was the ligand inducing IL-8 production by HGF, since TNF neutralization abrogated HGF responses to T-cell contact. The enhanced IL-8 release was due, at least in part, to prostaglandin-E(2) production, which was mostly blocked by indomethacin. Gingipain-R proteolytic activity was required since heat inactivation, specific synthetic protease inhibitors, and the natural substrate competitor histatin 5 abrogated its effects. The enhanced production of IL-8 in response to T-cell contact was specific since monocyte chemotactic protein-1 (MCP-1) production was unaffected while interferon-gamma-inducible protein-10 (IP-10) was inhibited. The sum of these activities may result in the recruitment of differential cell types to sites of inflammation since IL-8 preferentially recruits neutrophils and IP-10 attracts activated T cells and may be relevant to the pathogenesis of periodontitis.

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