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Mol Oral Microbiol. 2011 Aug;26(4):229-40. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-1014.2011.00612.x. Epub 2011 May 2.

Synergistic virulence of Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola in a murine periodontitis model.

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Oral Health CRC, Melbourne Dental School and Bio21 Institute, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.


Chronic periodontitis is characterized by the destruction of the tissues supporting the teeth and has been associated with the presence of a subgingival polymicrobial biofilm containing Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola. We have investigated the potential synergistic virulence of P. gingivalis and T. denticola using a murine experimental model of periodontitis. An inoculation regime of four intra-oral doses of 1 × 10(10) P. gingivalis cells induced significant periodontal bone loss compared with loss in sham-inoculated mice, whereas doses of 1 × 10(9) cells or lower did not induce bone loss. Inoculation with T. denticola with up to eight doses of 1 × 10(10) cells failed to induce bone loss in this model. However, four doses of a co-inoculum of a 1 : 1 ratio of P. gingivalis and T. denticola at 5 × 10(8) or 1 × 10(9) total bacterial cells induced the same level of bone loss as four doses of 1 × 10(10) P. gingivalis cells. Co-inoculation induced strong P. gingivalis-specific T-cell proliferative and interferon-γ-dominant cytokine responses, and induced a strong T. denticola-specific interferon-γ dominant cytokine response. Only at the higher co-inoculum dose of 1 × 10(10) total cells was a T. denticola-specific T-cell proliferative response observed. These data show that P. gingivalis and T. denticola act synergistically to stimulate the host immune response and to induce alveolar bone loss in a murine experimental periodontitis model.

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