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Infect Immun. 2002 May;70(5):2492-501.

Accumulation of human heat shock protein 60-reactive T cells in the gingival tissues of periodontitis patients.

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Division of Periodontology, Department of Oral Biological Science, Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Niigata, Japan.


Heat shock protein 60s (hsp60) are remarkably immunogenic, and both T-cell and antibody responses to hsp60 have been reported in various inflammatory conditions. To clarify the role of hsp60 in T-cell responses in periodontitis, we examined the proliferative response of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), as well as the cytokine profile and T-cell clonality, for periodontitis patients and controls following stimulation with recombinant human hsp60 and Porphyromonas gingivalis GroEL. To confirm the infiltration of hsp60-reactive T-cell clones into periodontitis lesions, nucleotide sequences within complementarity-determining region 3 of the T-cell receptor (TCR) beta-chain were compared between hsp60-reactive peripheral blood T cells and periodontitis lesion-infiltrating T cells. Periodontitis patients demonstrated significantly higher proliferative responses of PBMC to human hsp60, but not to P. gingivalis GroEL, than control subjects. The response was inhibited by anti-major histocompatibility complex class II antibodies. Analysis of the nucleotide sequences of the TCR demonstrated that human hsp60-reactive T-cell clones and periodontitis lesion-infiltrating T cells have the same receptors, suggesting that hsp60-reactive T cells accumulate in periodontitis lesions. Analysis of the cytokine profile demonstrated that hsp60-reactive PBMC produced significant levels of gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) in periodontitis patients, whereas P. gingivalis GroEL did not induce any skewing toward a type1 or type2 cytokine profile. In control subjects no significant expression of IFN-gamma or interleukin 4 was induced. These results suggest that periodontitis patients have human hsp60-reactive T cells with a type 1 cytokine profile in their peripheral blood T-cell pools.

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