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J Oral Microbiol. 2017 Jun 30;9(1):1340085. doi: 10.1080/20002297.2017.1340085. eCollection 2017.

Porphyromonas gingivalis disturbs host-commensal homeostasis by changing complement function.

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Department of Oral Biology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA.
Department of Microbiology, School of Dental Medicine; University of Pennsylvania, PA, USA.


Porphyromonas gingivalis is a Gram-negative anaerobic rod that has been proposed as an orchestrator of complement-dependent dysbiotic inflammation. This notion was suggested from its capacities to manipulate the complement-Toll-like receptor crosstalk in ways that promote dysbiosis and periodontal disease in animal models. Specifically, while at low colonization levels, P. gingivalis interferes with innate immunity and leads to changes in the counts and composition of the oral commensal microbiota. The resulting dysbiotic microbial community causes disruption of host-microbial homeostasis, leading to inflammatory bone loss. These findings suggested that P. gingivalis can be considered as a keystone pathogen. The concept of keystone pathogens is one where their effects have community-wide significance and are disproportionate of their abundance. The present review summarizes the relevant literature and discusses whether the results from the animal models can be extrapolated to man.


P. gingivalis; animal model; commensal microbiota; complement; keystone pathogen; periodontitis

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