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Curr Microbiol. 1998 Apr;36(4):216-9.

Cytokine degradation by biofilms of Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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Department of Microbiology, Eastman Dental Institute, University College London, 256 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8LD, UK.


The aim of this study was to determine whether biofilms of Porphyromonas gingivalis could proteolytically degrade the cytokines interleukin (IL)-1beta, IL-6, or IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra). Biofilms were grown on membrane filters on the surface of Wilkins-Chalgren blood agar. The biofilms were removed from the plates, and solutions containing 2.5 microg/ml of each cytokine were added. Following incubation for up to 4.0 h, supernatants from the biofilms were subjected to SDS-PAGE. The separated proteins were transferred by Western blotting to PVDF membranes and probed with peroxidase-conjugated antibodies recognizing both the intact cytokines and their degradation products. After 2 h, no intact IL-1beta, IL-6, or IL-1ra were detectable. Cytokine proteolysis also occurred in the presence of horse serum. These results demonstrate that biofilm-grown P. gingivalis can degrade both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and so may be able to perturb cytokine networks in vivo by eliminating cytokines from the local environment.

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