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J Endotoxin Res. 2007;13(4):219-26.

Peptostreptococcus micros cell wall elicits a pro-inflammatory response in human macrophages.

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Groupe de Recherche en Ecologie Buccale, Faculté de Médecine Dentaire, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.


Peptostreptococcus micros is a Gram-positive anaerobic bacterium associated with periodontitis, a chronic inflammatory disease affecting tooth-supporting tissues. In the present study, we investigated the response of human macrophages to stimulation with a cell wall preparation from P. micros. In addition, the effect of the preparation on the phosphorylation of macrophage kinases was studied. The preparation, which was non-toxic for macrophages, significantly increased the secretion of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IL-6. It also increased the secretion of two potent chemokines IL-8 and, to a lesser extent, RANTES. Lastly, stimulation of macrophages by the P. micros cell wall preparation induced a significant increase in MMP-9 secretion but had no effect on the production of prostaglandin E2. The phosphorylation of macrophage kinases, including cAMP-dependent protein-serine kinase (PKA) catalytic subunit beta, G protein-coupled receptor-serine kinase 2, mitogen-activated protein-serine kinase p38 alpha (p38a MAPK), extracellular regulated protein-serine kinase 2 (ERK2) and Jun N-terminus protein-serine kinases (JNK), increased following stimulation with cell wall. In summary, our study showed that the P. micros cell wall preparation induced intracellular signaling pathways, leading to an increased production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines and MMP-9 by macrophages.

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