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J Periodontal Res. 1997 Jan;32(1 Pt 2):200-5.

Interactions between periodontopathogenic bacteria and cytokines.

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Department of Microbiology, Eastman Dental Institute for Oral Health Care Sciences, University College London, UK.


Cytokines produced in response to plaque bacteria clearly play a key role in the periodontal diseases. However, we know very little about the interactions between cytokines and periodontopathogenic bacteria. The aims of this study were to determine whether the key pro-inflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta (IL-1 beta) and IL-6 could affect the growth of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans or Porphyromonas gingivalis and to determine whether these organisms could hydrolyse IL-1 beta, IL-6 or the anti-inflammatory IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra). Culture medium containing up to 100 ng/ml of IL-1 beta or IL-6 was inoculated with A. actinomycetemcomitans (serotypes a, b and c) or P. gingivalis and growth was monitored by measuring changes in electrical conductivity every 3 min for up to 48 h. IL-1 beta, IL-6 or IL-1ra were added to culture supernatants and incubated for up to 24 h. Samples were taken at various times, analysed by SDS-PAGE and the separated proteins transferred by Western blotting to PVDF membranes and probed with anti-cytokine antibodies. None of the cytokines tested had any effect on the rate of growth or yield of A. actinomycetemcomitans or P. gingivalis. Supernatants from P. gingivalis cultures, but not those from A. actinomycetemcomitans, hydrolysed IL-1 beta, IL-6 and IL-1ra. The hydrolysate from the P. gingivalis supernatant-treated IL-1 beta was unable to stimulate the release of IL-6 from human gingival fibroblasts showing that it had lost biological activity. These results suggest that P. gingivalis can perturb the cytokine network, not only by stimulating the release of cytokines from host cells, but also by removing them from its local environment.

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