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J Med Microbiol. 2008 Apr;57(Pt 4):500-7. doi: 10.1099/jmm.0.47679-0.

Dual regulation of interleukin-8 production in human oral epithelial cells upon stimulation with gingipains from Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry, Sendai, Japan.


Cysteine proteinases from Porphyromonas gingivalis, or gingipains, are considered to be key virulence factors of the bacterium in relation to periodontal diseases. Incubation of human oral epithelial cells with lysine-specific gingipain (Kgp) and high-molecular-mass arginine-specific gingipain (HRgpA) resulted in a decrease in the production of interleukin (IL)-8, but not in the production of other pro-inflammatory cytokines. In contrast, arginine-specific gingipain 2 (RgpB) increased IL-8 production. RNA interference assays demonstrated that Kgp- and HRgpA-mediated downregulation and RgpB-mediated upregulation occurred through protease-activated receptor (PAR)-1 and PAR-2 signalling. Although the RgpB-mediated upregulation of IL-8 production occurred through nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-kappaB), the Kgp- and HRgpA-mediated downregulation was not negated in NF-kappaB-silenced cells. Both the haemagglutinin and the enzymic domains are required for Kgp and HRgpA to downregulate the production of IL-8 in human oral epithelial cells, and the two domains are thought to co-exist. These results suggest that gingipains preferentially suppress IL-8, resulting in attenuation of the cellular recognition of bacteria, and as a consequence, sustain chronic inflammation.

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