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Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2005 Jul;25(7):1446-51. Epub 2005 Apr 21.

Porphyromonas gingivalis bacteremia induces coronary and aortic atherosclerosis in normocholesterolemic and hypercholesterolemic pigs.

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School of Dentistry and Department of Periodontology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Center of Oral and Systemic Diseases, Chapel Hill, NC 27516-3114, USA.



The aim of this study was to determine whether recurrent intravenous injections with Porphyromonas gingivalis (P gingivalis), mimicking periodontitis-associated bacteremia, promotes coronary artery and aortic atherosclerosis in pigs.


Pigs (n=36) fed low- or high-fat chow were divided into P gingivalis-sensitized and P gingivalis-challenged groups or P gingivalis-sensitized controls and saline-treated controls. Pigs were sensitized with 10(9) killed P gingivalis subcutaneously. Four weeks later all sensitized pigs in the group to be challenged started intravenous injections thrice weekly for 5 months with 10(6) to 10(7) colony forming units of P gingivalis while controls received saline. Anti-P gingivalis antibody, serum cholesterol, and complete blood counts were assayed monthly. Pigs were euthanized 2 weeks after the last injection, and coronary arteries and aortas were analyzed by histomorphometry and immunohistochemistry. Anti-P gingivalis antibody was increased by P gingivalis exposure. P gingivalis-challenged pigs developed a significantly greater amount of coronary and aortic atherosclerosis than controls in the normocholesterolemic group and nearly significant in the hypercholesterolemic group. P gingivalis was detected by polymerase chain reaction in arteries from most (94%, 16 of 17) P gingivalis-challenged pigs but not controls.


Recurrent P gingivalis bacteremia induces aortic and coronary lesions consistent with atherosclerosis in normocholesterolemic pigs and increases aortic and coronary atherosclerosis in hypercholesterolemic pigs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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