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Microbes Infect. 2006 Jan;8(1):27-35. Epub 2005 Jul 26.

Inflammatory responses of a macrophage/epithelial cell co-culture model to mono and mixed infections with Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, and Tannerella forsythia.

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  • 1Groupe de Recherche en Ecologie Buccale, Faculté de médecine dentaire, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada G1K 7P4.


Accumulated evidence points to Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, and Tannerella forsythia as three major etiologic agents of chronic periodontitis. Epithelial cells and macrophages play a major role in the host response to periodontopathogens, and the secretion of inflammatory mediators and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) by these host cells is believed to contribute to periodontal tissue destruction. The aim of this study was to investigate the inflammatory response of a macrophage/epithelial cell co-culture model following mono or mixed infections with the above three periodontopathogens. An in vitro co-culture model composed of epithelial-like transformed cells (HeLa cell line) and macrophage-like cells (phorbol myristic acid-differentiated U937 monocytic cell line) was challenged with whole cells or lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of P. gingivalis, T. denticola, and T. forsythia, individually and in combination. Following stimulation, the production of interleukin-1 beta (IL-1beta), IL-6, IL-8, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha), regulated on activation normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES), prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), and MMP-9 were quantified by enzyme-linked immunoassays. We observed that mono or mixed infections of the co-culture model induced the secretion of IL-1beta, IL-6, IL-8, PGE2, and MMP-9. P. gingivalis and T. forsythia induced an increase in RANTES secretion, whereas T. denticola alone or in combination resulted in a significant decrease in RANTES levels. All LPS challenges induced an increase in chemokine, MMP-9, and PGE2 production. No synergistic effect on the production of cytokines, chemokines, PGE2, and MMP-9 was observed for any of the bacterial or LPS mixtures tested. This study supports the view that P. gingivalis, T. denticola, and T. forsythia may induce high levels of pro-inflammatory mediators and MMP-9 in periodontal lesions, thus contributing to the progression of periodontitis.

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