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1.  Porphyromonas gingivalis Facilitates the Development and Progression of Destructive Arthritis through Its Unique Bacterial Peptidylarginine Deiminase (PAD) 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(9):e1003627.
Rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis are two prevalent chronic inflammatory diseases in humans and are associated with each other both clinically and epidemiologically. Recent findings suggest a causative link between periodontal infection and rheumatoid arthritis via bacteria-dependent induction of a pathogenic autoimmune response to citrullinated epitopes. Here we showed that infection with viable periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis strain W83 exacerbated collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) in a mouse model, as manifested by earlier onset, accelerated progression and enhanced severity of the disease, including significantly increased bone and cartilage destruction. The ability of P. gingivalis to augment CIA was dependent on the expression of a unique P. gingivalis peptidylarginine deiminase (PPAD), which converts arginine residues in proteins to citrulline. Infection with wild type P. gingivalis was responsible for significantly increased levels of autoantibodies to collagen type II and citrullinated epitopes as a PPAD-null mutant did not elicit similar host response. High level of citrullinated proteins was also detected at the site of infection with wild-type P. gingivalis. Together, these results suggest bacterial PAD as the mechanistic link between P. gingivalis periodontal infection and rheumatoid arthritis.
Author Summary
Clinical and epidemiological data indicates that chronic periodontal disease (PD), one of the most prevalent infectious inflammatory disease of mankind, is linked to systemic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Nevertheless, the causative mechanisms of association between PD and chronic inflammatory diseases are very poorly understood. Recent findings suggest a causative link between periodontal infection and rheumatoid arthritis via bacteria-dependent induction of a pathogenic response to citrullinated epitopes. In present study we show that infection with viable periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis but not another oral bacterium (Prevotella intermedia), exacerbated CIA, as manifested by earlier onset, accelerated progression and enhanced severity of the disease, including significantly increased bone and cartilage destruction. The ability of P. gingivalis to augment CIA was dependent on the expression of a unique enzyme peptidylarginine deiminase, which converts arginine residues in proteins to citrulline. This knowledge may create new perspectives in the treatment and prevention of RA in susceptible individuals.
PMCID: PMC3771902  PMID: 24068934
2.  Rheumatoid arthritis and periodontitis – inflammatory and infectious connections. Review of the literature 
Journal of Oral Microbiology  2012;4:10.3402/jom.v4i0.11829.
An association between oral disease/periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) has been considered since the early 1820s. The early treatment was tooth eradication. Epidemiological studies suggest that the prevalence of RA and periodontitis may be similar and about 5% of the population are aged 50 years or older. RA is considered as an autoimmune disease whereas periodontitis has an infectious etiology with a complex inflammatory response. Both diseases are chronic and may present with bursts of disease activity. Association studies have suggested odds ratios of having RA and periodontitis varying from 1.8:1 (95% CI: 1.0–3.2, NS) to 8:1 (95% CI: 2.9–22.1, p<0.001). Genetic factors are driving the host responses in both RA and periodontitis. Tumor necrosis factor-α, a proinflammatory cytokine, regulates a cascade of inflammatory events in both RA and periodontitis. Porphyromonas gingivalis is a common pathogen in periodontal infection. P. gingivalis has also been identified in synovial fluid. The specific abilities of P. gingivalis to citrullinate host peptides by proteolytic cleavage at Arg-X peptide bonds by arginine gingipains can induce autoimmune responses in RA through development of anticyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies. In addition, P. gingivalis carries heat shock proteins (HSPs) that may also trigger autoimmune responses in subjects with RA. Data suggest that periodontal therapies combined with routine RA treatments further improve RA status.
Periodontal infection (P. gingivalis) carries a unique risk for development of autoimmune antibodies associated with RA. Patients with RA have either lost many teeth or usually have severe periodontitis. Additional research, both in regards to basic mechanisms as well as clinical studies, are necessary before it can be said that there are causative links between RA and periodontitis. Cross-disciplinary research in well-defined populations should be performed to further enhance knowledge and develop clinical strategies how to coordinate therapy and risk assessments of RA and periodontitis.
PMCID: PMC3280043  PMID: 22347541
rheumatoid arthritis; periodontitis; bacteria; inflammation; Porphyromonas gingivalis; citrullination; genetics; review
3.  The peptidylarginine deiminase gene is a conserved feature of Porphyromonas gingivalis 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:13936.
Periodontitis is an infective process that ultimately leads to destruction of the soft and hard tissues that support the teeth (the periodontium). Periodontitis has been proposed as a candidate risk factor for development of the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Porphyromonas gingivalis, a major periodontal pathogen, is the only known prokaryote expressing a peptidyl arginine deiminase (PAD) enzyme necessary for protein citrullination. Antibodies to citrullinated proteins (anti-citrullinated protein antibodies, ACPA) are highly specific for RA and precede disease onset. Objective of this study was to assess P. gingivalis PAD (PPAD) gene expression and citrullination patterns in representative samples of P. gingivalis clinical isolates derived from periodontitis patients with and without RA and in related microbes of the Porphyromonas genus. Our findings indicate that PPAD is omnipresent in P. gingivalis, but absent in related species. No significant differences were found in the composition and expression of the PPAD gene of P. gingivalis regardless of the presence of RA or periodontal disease phenotypes. From this study it can be concluded that if P. gingivalis plays a role in RA, it is unlikely to originate from a variation in PPAD gene expression.
PMCID: PMC4585897  PMID: 26403779
4.  RNAi-Mediated Silencing of Atp6i and Atp6i Haploinsufficiency Prevents Both Bone Loss and Inflammation in a Mouse Model of Periodontal Disease 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e58599.
Periodontal disease affects about 80% of adults in America, and is characterized by oral bacterial infection-induced gingival inflammation, oral bone resorption, and tooth loss. Periodontitis is also associated with other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Although many efforts have been made to develop effective therapies for this disease, none have been very effective and there is still an urgent need for better treatments and preventative strategies. Herein we explored for the first time the possibility that adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated RNAi knockdown could be used to treat periodontal disease with improved efficacy. For this purpose, we used AAV-mediated RNAi knockdown of Atp6i/TIRC7 gene expression to target bone resorption and gingival inflammation simultaneously. Mice were infected with the oral pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis W50 (P. gingivalis) in the maxillary periodontium to induce periodontitis. We found that Atp6i depletion impaired extracellular acidification and osteoclast-mediated bone resorption. Furthermore, local injection of AAV-shRNA-Atp6i/TIRC7 into the periodontal tissues in vivo protected mice from P. gingivalis infection-stimulated bone resorption by >85% and decreased the T-cell number in periodontal tissues. Notably, AAV-mediated Atp6i/TIRC7 knockdown also reduced the expression of osteoclast marker genes and inflammation-induced cytokine genes. Atp6i+/− mice with haploinsufficiency were similarly protected from P. gingivalis infection-stimulated bone loss and gingival inflammation. This suggests that AAV-shRNA-Atp6i/TIRC7 therapeutic treatment may significantly improve the health of millions who suffer from P. gingivalis-mediated periodontal disease.
PMCID: PMC3618217  PMID: 23577057
5.  Divergence of the systemic immune response following oral infection with distinct strains of Porphyromonas gingivalis 
Molecular oral microbiology  2012;27(6):483-495.
Periodontitis is a polymicrobial oral infection characterized by the destruction of tooth-supporting structures that can be linked to systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis. Porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium implicated in the etiology of periodontitis, has shown variation in inducing T-cell responses among different strains. Therefore, in this study we investigated the strain-specific immune response using a murine experimental model of periodontitis. Periodontitis was induced by P. gingivalis strains A7A1-28, W83 and W50, and later confirmed by the presence of P. gingivalis in the oral microflora and by alveolar bone resorption. Splenocytes were evaluated for gene expression, cellular proteins and cytokine expression. Dendritic cells were stimulated in vitro for T helper cell–cytokine profiling. Results showed that P. gingivalis had the ability to alter the systemic immune response after bacterial exposure. Strains W50 and W83 were shown to induce alveolar bone loss, whereas the A7A1-28 strain did not significantly promote bone resorption in mice. Splenocytes derived from mice infected with strains W50 and W83 induced expression of high levels of interleukin-4 (IL-4) but A7A1-28 stimulated increased IL-10. Stimulation of dendritic cells in vitro showed a similar pattern of cytokine expression of IL-12p40, IL-6 and transforming growth factor-β among strains. A distinct systemic response in vivo was observed among different strains of P. gingivalis, with IL-10 associated with the least amount of alveolar bone loss. Evaluation of pathogen-driven systemic immune responses associated with periodontal disease pathogenesis may assist in defining how periodontitis may impact other diseases.
PMCID: PMC4106254  PMID: 23134613
bone loss; interleukin-10; oral infection; periodontal disease; periodontitis; systemic response
6.  Porphyromonas gingivalis Peptidylarginine Deiminase, a Key Contributor in the Pathogenesis of Experimental Periodontal Disease and Experimental Arthritis 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100838.
To investigate the suggested role of Porphyromonas gingivalis peptidylarginine deiminase (PAD) in the relationship between the aetiology of periodontal disease and experimentally induced arthritis and the possible association between these two conditions.
A genetically modified PAD-deficient strain of P. gingivalis W50 was produced. The effect of this strain, compared to the wild type, in an established murine model for experimental periodontitis and experimental arthritis was assessed. Experimental periodontitis was induced following oral inoculation with the PAD-deficient and wild type strains of P. gingivalis. Experimental arthritis was induced via the collagen antibody induction process and was monitored by assessment of paw swelling and micro-CT analysis of the radio-carpal joints. Experimental periodontitis was monitored by micro CT scans of the mandible and histological assessment of the periodontal tissues around the mandibular molars. Serum levels of anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) and P. gingivalis were assessed by ELISA.
The development of experimental periodontitis was significantly reduced in the presence of the PAD-deficient P. gingivalis strain. When experimental arthritis was induced in the presence of the PAD-deficient strain there was less paw swelling, less erosive bone damage to the joints and reduced serum ACPA levels when compared to the wild type P. gingivalis inoculated group.
This study has demonstrated that a PAD-deficient strain of P. gingivalis was associated with significantly reduced periodontal inflammation. In addition the extent of experimental arthritis was significantly reduced in animals exposed to prior induction of periodontal disease through oral inoculation of the PAD-deficient strain versus the wild type. This adds further evidence to the potential role for P. gingivalis and its PAD in the pathogenesis of periodontitis and exacerbation of arthritis. Further studies are now needed to elucidate the mechanisms which drive these processes.
PMCID: PMC4069180  PMID: 24959715
7.  Porphyromonas gingivalis oral infection exacerbates the development and severity of collagen-induced arthritis 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2013;15(6):R186.
Clinical studies suggest a direct influence of periodontal disease (PD) on serum inflammatory markers and disease assessment of patients with established rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, the influence of PD on arthritis development remains unclear. This investigation was undertaken to determine the contribution of chronic PD to immune activation and development of joint inflammation using the collagen-induced arthritis (CIA) model.
DBA1/J mice orally infected with Porphyromonas gingivalis were administered with collagen II (CII) emulsified in complete Freund’s adjuvant (CFA) or incomplete Freund’s adjuvant (IFA) to induce arthritis. Arthritis development was assessed by visual scoring of paw swelling, caliper measurement of the paws, mRNA expression, paw micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) analysis, histology, and tartrate resistant acid phosphatase for osteoclast detection (TRAP)-positive immunohistochemistry. Serum and reactivated splenocytes were evaluated for cytokine expression.
Mice induced for PD and/or arthritis developed periodontal disease, shown by decreased alveolar bone and alteration of mRNA expression in gingival tissues and submandibular lymph nodes compared to vehicle. P. gingivalis oral infection increased paw swelling and osteoclast numbers in mice immunized with CFA/CII. Arthritis incidence and severity were increased by P. gingivalis in mice that received IFA/CII immunizations. Increased synovitis, bone erosions, and osteoclast numbers in the paws were observed following IFA/CII immunizations in mice infected with P gingivalis. Furthermore, cytokine analysis showed a trend toward increased serum Th17/Th1 ratios when P. gingivalis infection was present in mice receiving either CFA/CII or IFA/CII immunizations. Significant cytokine increases induced by P. gingivalis oral infection were mostly associated to Th17-related cytokines of reactivated splenic cells, including IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-22 in the CFA/CII group and IL-1β, tumor necrosis factor-α, transforming growth factor-β, IL-6 and IL-23 in the IFA/CII group.
Chronic P. gingivalis oral infection prior to arthritis induction increases the immune system activation favoring Th17 cell responses, and ultimately accelerating arthritis development. These results suggest that chronic oral infection may influence RA development mainly through activation of Th17-related pathways.
PMCID: PMC3979094  PMID: 24456966
8.  The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis: An Updated Review 
Porphyromonas gingivalis is a leading pathogen in chronic periodontitis, a disease process involving progressive destruction of the tissues that support the teeth. Recently, the organism has been reported to produce a unique bacterial enzyme, P. gingivalis peptidyl-arginine deiminase (PPAD), which has the ability to convert arginine residues in proteins to citrulline. Protein citrullination alters protein structure and function; hence, PPAD may be involved in deregulation of the host’s signalling network and immune evasion. Further, accumulating evidence suggests a role for autoimmunity against citrullinated proteins in the development of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). As inflammatory conditions in the lungs of cigarette smokers contribute to the breakdown of immune tolerance to citrullinated epitopes, chronic exposure to citrullinated proteins at periodontitis sites may also predispose susceptible individuals to the development of autoantibodies and the initiation of RA. In this review, we discuss evidence that PPAD may represent a mechanistic link between periodontitis and RA, diseases that are known to be significantly associated at the epidemiological level.
PMCID: PMC3930831  PMID: 24458478
Periodontal disease; Rheumatoid arthritis; Citrullination; PPAD; Periodontitis; P. gingivalis peptidyl-arginine deiminase (PPAD)
9.  Targeting Atp6v1c1 Prevents Inflammation and Bone Erosion Caused by Periodontitis and Reveals Its Critical Function in Osteoimmunology 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(8):e0134903.
Periodontal disease (Periodontitis) is a serious disease that affects a majority of adult Americans and is associated with other systemic diseases, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other inflammatory diseases. While great efforts have been devoted toward understanding the pathogenesis of periodontitis, there remains a pressing need for developing potent therapeutic strategies for targeting this pervasive and destructive disease. In this study, we utilized novel adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated Atp6v1c1 knockdown gene therapy to treat bone erosion and inflammatory caused by periodontitis in mouse model. Atp6v1c1 is a subunit of the V-ATPase complex and regulator of the assembly of the V0 and V1 domains of the V-ATPase complex. We demonstrated previously that Atp6v1c1 has an essential function in osteoclast mediated bone resorption. We hypothesized that Atp6v1c1 may be an ideal target to prevent the bone erosion and inflammation caused by periodontitis. To test the hypothesis, we employed AAV RNAi knockdown of Atp6v1c1 gene expression to prevent bone erosion and gingival inflammation simultaneously. We found that lesion-specific injection of AAV-shRNA-Atp6v1c1 into the periodontal disease lesions protected against bone erosion (>85%) and gingival inflammation caused by P. gingivalis W50 infection. AAV-mediated Atp6v1c1 knockdown dramatically reduced osteoclast numbers and inhibited the infiltration of dendritic cells and macrophages in the bacteria-induced inflammatory lesions in periodontitis. Silencing of Atp6v1c1 expression also prevented the expressions of osteoclast-related genes and pro-inflammatory cytokine genes. Our data suggests that AAV-shRNA-Atp6v1c1 treatment can significantly attenuate the bone erosion and inflammation caused by periodontitis, indicating the dual function of AAV-shRNA-Atp6v1c1 as an inhibitor of bone erosion mediated by osteoclasts, and as an inhibitor of inflammation through down-regulation of pro-inflammatory cytokine expression. This study demonstrated that Atp6v1c1 RNAi knockdown gene therapy mediated by AAV-shRNA-Atp6v1c1 is a promising novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of bone erosion and inflammatory related diseases, such as periodontitis and rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC4537256  PMID: 26274612
10.  Relationship between Periodontitis and Rheumatoid Arthritis: Review of the Literature 
Mediators of Inflammation  2015;2015:259074.
Periodontitis (PD) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are immunoinflammatory diseases where leukocyte infiltration and inflammatory mediators induce alveolar bone loss, synovitis, and joint destruction, respectively. Thus, we reviewed the relationship between both diseases considering epidemiological aspects, mechanical periodontal treatment, inflammatory mediators, oral microbiota, and antibodies, using the keywords “periodontitis” and “rheumatoid arthritis” in PubMed database between January 2012 and March 2015, resulting in 162 articles. After critical reading based on titles and abstracts and following the inclusion and exclusion criteria, 26 articles were included. In the articles, women over 40 years old, smokers and nonsmokers, mainly constituted the analyzed groups. Eight studies broached the epidemiological relationship with PD and RA. Four trials demonstrated that the periodontal treatment influenced the severity of RA and periodontal clinical parameters. Nine studies were related with bacteria influence in the pathogenesis of RA and the presence of citrullinated proteins, autoantibodies, or rheumatoid factor in patients with PD and RA. Five studies investigated the presence of mediators of inflammation in PD and RA. In summary, the majority of the articles have confirmed that there is a correlation between PD and RA, since both disorders have characteristics in common and result from an imbalance in the immunoinflammatory response.
PMCID: PMC4539505  PMID: 26347200
11.  Could Early Rheumatoid Arthritis Resolve After Periodontitis Treatment Only? 
Medicine  2014;93(27):e195.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an immune-mediated polyarthritis; currently no pathogenic agent has been identified as a disease trigger. A patient with RA, presumably caused by periodontal infection, whose remission has been observed after periodontitis treatment in absence of specific RA therapy, is reported here for the first time, to our knowledge.
A 61-year-old male patient presented migrant arthritis associated with antibodies against citrullinated protein antigens positivity. The clinical features allowed to make RA diagnosis according to the 2010 European League against Rheumatism/American College of Rheumatology RA classification criteria. X-ray of the second upper molar showed chronic apical periodontitis. After its treatment, arthritis remission has been observed in the absence of specific RA therapy.
It has been suggested that periodontitis may have a trigger role in RA pathogenesis. This could be explained by the enzymatic action of Porphyromonas gingivalis, probably leading to break tolerance to collagen. The identification and subsequent treatment of periodontitis should therefore be considered pivotal in RA prophylaxis and management.
PMCID: PMC4602768  PMID: 25501069
12.  Ectopic Lymphoid Structures Support Ongoing Production of Class-Switched Autoantibodies in Rheumatoid Synovium 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(1):e1.
Follicular structures resembling germinal centres (GCs) that are characterized by follicular dendritic cell (FDC) networks have long been recognized in chronically inflamed tissues in autoimmune diseases, including the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, it is debated whether these ectopic structures promote autoimmunity and chronic inflammation driving the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. Anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies (ACPA) are highly specific markers of RA, predict a poor prognosis, and have been suggested to be pathogenic. Therefore, the main study objectives were to determine whether ectopic lymphoid structures in RA synovium: (i) express activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), the enzyme required for somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination (CSR) of Ig genes; (ii) support ongoing CSR and ACPA production; and (iii) remain functional in a RA/severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) chimera model devoid of new immune cell influx into the synovium.
Methods and Findings
Using immunohistochemistry (IHC) and quantitative Taqman real-time PCR (QT-PCR) in synovial tissue from 55 patients with RA, we demonstrated that FDC+ structures invariably expressed AID with a distribution resembling secondary lymphoid organs. Further, AID+/CD21+ follicular structures were surrounded by ACPA+/CD138+ plasma cells, as demonstrated by immune reactivity to citrullinated fibrinogen. Moreover, we identified a novel subset of synovial AID+/CD20+ B cells outside GCs resembling interfollicular large B cells. In order to gain direct functional evidence that AID+ structures support CSR and in situ manufacturing of class-switched ACPA, 34 SCID mice were transplanted with RA synovium and humanely killed at 4 wk for harvesting of transplants and sera. Persistent expression of AID and Iγ-Cμ circular transcripts (identifying ongoing IgM-IgG class-switching) was observed in synovial grafts expressing FDCs/CD21L. Furthermore, synovial mRNA levels of AID were closely associated with circulating human IgG ACPA in mouse sera. Finally, the survival and proliferation of functional B cell niches was associated with persistent overexpression of genes regulating ectopic lymphoneogenesis.
Our demonstration that FDC+ follicular units invariably express AID and are surrounded by ACPA-producing plasma cells provides strong evidence that ectopic lymphoid structures in the RA synovium are functional and support autoantibody production. This concept is further confirmed by evidence of sustained AID expression, B cell proliferation, ongoing CSR, and production of human IgG ACPA from GC+ synovial tissue transplanted into SCID mice, independently of new B cell influx from the systemic circulation. These data identify AID as a potential therapeutic target in RA and suggest that survival of functional synovial B cell niches may profoundly influence chronic inflammation, autoimmunity, and response to B cell–depleting therapies.
Costantino Pitzalis and colleagues show that lymphoid structures in synovial tissue of patients with rheumatoid arthritis support production of anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies, which continues following transplantation into SCID mice.
Editors' Summary
More than 1 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis, an “autoimmune” condition that affects the joints. Normally, the immune system provides protection against infection by responding to foreign antigens (molecules that are unique to invading organisms) while ignoring self-antigens present in the body's own tissues. In autoimmune diseases, this ability to discriminate between self and non-self fails for unknown reasons and the immune system begins to attack human tissues. In rheumatoid arthritis, the lining of the joints (the synovium) is attacked, it becomes inflamed and thickened, and chemicals are released that damage all the tissues in the joint. Eventually, the joint may become so scarred that movement is no longer possible. Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts in the small joints in the hands and feet, but larger joints and other tissues (including the heart and blood vessels) can be affected. Its symptoms, which tend to fluctuate, include early morning joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, and feeling generally unwell. Although the disease is not always easy to diagnose, the immune systems of many people with rheumatoid arthritis make “anti-citrullinated protein/peptide antibodies” (ACPA). These “autoantibodies” (which some experts believe can contribute to the joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis) recognize self-proteins that contain the unusual amino acid citrulline, and their detection on blood tests can help make the diagnosis. Although there is no cure for rheumatoid arthritis, the recently developed biologic drugs, often used together with the more traditional disease-modifying therapies, are able to halt its progression by specifically blocking the chemicals that cause joint damage. Painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce its symptoms, and badly damaged joints can sometimes be surgically replaced.
Why Was This Study Done?
Before scientists can develop a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, they need to know how and why autoantibodies are made that attack the joints in this common and disabling disease. B cells, the immune system cells that make antibodies, mature in structures known as “germinal centers” in the spleen and lymph nodes. In the germinal centers, immature B cells are exposed to antigens and undergo two genetic processes called “somatic hypermutation” and “class-switch recombination” that ensure that each B cell makes an antibody that sticks as tightly as possible to just one antigen. The B cells then multiply and enter the bloodstream where they help to deal with infections. Interestingly, the inflamed synovium of many patients with rheumatoid arthritis contains structures that resemble germinal centers. Could these ectopic (misplaced) lymphoid structures, which are characterized by networks of immune system cells called follicular dendritic cells (FDCs), promote autoimmunity and long-term inflammation by driving the production of autoantibodies within the joint itself? In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers collected synovial tissue from 55 patients with rheumatoid arthritis and used two approaches, called immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR, to investigate whether FDC-containing structures in synovium expressed an enzyme called activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), which is needed for both somatic hypermutation and class-switch recombination. All the FDC-containing structures that the researchers found in their samples expressed AID. Furthermore, these AID-containing structures were surrounded by mature B cells making ACPAs. To test whether these B cells were derived from AID-expressing cells resident in the synovium rather than ACPA-expressing immune system cells coming into the synovium from elsewhere in the body, the researchers transplanted synovium from patients with rheumatoid arthritis under the skin of a special sort of mouse that largely lacks its own immune system. Four weeks later, the researchers found that the transplanted human lymphoid tissue was still making AID, that the level of AID expression correlated with the amount of human ACPA in the blood of the mice, and that the B cells in the transplant were proliferating.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that the ectopic lymphoid structures present in the synovium of some patients with rheumatoid arthritis are functional and are able to make ACPA. Because ACPA may be responsible for joint damage, the survival of these structures could, therefore, be involved in the development and progression of rheumatoid arthritis. More experiments are needed to confirm this idea, but these findings may explain why drugs that effectively clear B cells from the bloodstream do not always produce a marked clinical improvement in rheumatoid arthritis. Finally, they suggest that AID might provide a new target for the development of drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Rene Toes and Tom Huizinga
The MedlinePlus Encyclopedia has a page on rheumatoid arthritis (in English and Spanish). MedlinePlus provides links to other information on rheumatoid arthritis (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices information service has detailed information on rheumatoid arthritis
The US National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases provides Fast Facts, an easy to read publication for the public, and a more detailed Handbook on rheumatoid arthritis
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an overview on rheumatoid arthritis that includes statistics about this disease and its impact on daily life
PMCID: PMC2621263  PMID: 19143467
13.  Rheumatoid arthritis–associated autoantibodies in non–rheumatoid arthritis patients with mucosal inflammation: a case–control study 
Rheumatoid arthritis–associated autoantibodies (RA-AAB) can be present in serum years before clinical onset of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It has been hypothesized that initiation of RA-AAB generation occurs at inflamed mucosal surfaces, such as in the oral cavity or lungs. The aim of this study was to assess systemic presence of RA-AAB in patients without RA who had oral or lung mucosal inflammation.
The presence of RA-AAB (immunoglobulin A [IgA] and IgG anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide 2 antibodies (anti-CCP2), IgM and IgA rheumatoid factor (RF), IgG anti-carbamylated protein antibodies and IgG and IgA anti-citrullinated peptide antibodies against fibrinogen, vimentin and enolase) were determined in sera of non-RA patients with periodontitis (PD, n = 114), bronchiectasis (BR, n = 80) or cystic fibrosis (CF, n = 41). Serum RA-AAB levels were compared with those of periodontally healthy controls (n = 36). Patients with established RA (n = 86) served as a reference group. Association of the diseases with RA-AAB seropositivity was assessed with a logistic regression model, adjusted for age, sex and smoking.
Logistic regression analysis revealed that IgG anti-CCP seropositivity was associated with BR and RA, whereas the association with PD was borderline significant. IgA anti-CCP seropositivity was associated with CF and RA. IgM RF seropositivity was associated with RA, whereas the association with BR was borderline significant. IgA RF seropositivity was associated with CF and RA. Apart from an influence of smoking on IgA RF in patients with RA, there was no influence of age, sex or smoking on the association of RA-AAB seropositivity with the diseases. Anti-CarP levels were increased only in patients with RA. The same held for IgG reactivity against all investigated citrullinated peptides.
Although overall levels were low, RA-AAB seropositivity was associated with lung mucosal inflammation (BR and CF) and may be associated with oral mucosal inflammation (PD). To further determine whether mucosal inflammation functions as a site for induction of RA-AAB and precedes RA, longitudinal studies are necessary in which RA-AAB of specifically the IgA isotype should be assessed in inflamed mucosal tissues and/or in their inflammatory exudates.
PMCID: PMC4496865  PMID: 26155788
14.  Expression of programmed death 1 ligand 1 on periodontal tissue cells as a possible protective feedback mechanism against periodontal tissue destruction 
Molecular Medicine Reports  2016;13(3):2423-2430.
Programmed death 1 ligand 1 (PD-L1) is a negative co-stimulatory molecule in immune responses. Previous reports have indicated that inflammatory cytokines can upregulate the expression of PD-L1 in tumor cells, which in turn suppresses host immune responses. Periodontitis is characterized by persistent inflammation of the periodontium, which is initiated by infection with oral bacteria and results in damage to cells and the matrices of the periodontal connective tissues. In the present study, the expression and function of PD-L1 in periodontal tissue destruction were examined. Periodontal ligament cells (PDLCs) were stimulated by inflammatory cytokines and periodontal pathogens. The expression and function of PD-L1 on the surface of PDLCs was investigated using flow cytometry in vitro. Periodontal disease was induced by the injection of Porphyromonas gingivalis in mouse models. The expression levels of PD-L1 in the periodontal tissues of the mice were analyzed using flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry. PD-L1 was inducibly expressed on the PDLCs by the inflammatory cytokines and periodontal pathogens. The inflammation-induced expression of PD-L1 was shown to cause the apoptosis of activated T lymphocytes and improve the survival of PDLCs. Furthermore, in the mouse model of experimental periodontitis, the expression of PD-L1 in severe cases of periodontitis was significantly lower, compared with that in mild cases. By contrast, no significant differences were observed between the healthy control and severe periodontitis groups. The results of the present study showed that the expression of PD-L1 may inhibit the destruction of periodontal tissues, indicating the involvement of a possible protective feedback mechanism against periodontal infection.
PMCID: PMC4768984  PMID: 26847035
programmed cell death 1 ligand 1; inflammatory cytokine; periodontitis; protective factors
15.  Porphyromonas gingivalis: An Overview of Periodontopathic Pathogen below the Gum Line 
Periodontal disease represents a group of oral inflammatory infections initiated by oral pathogens which exist as a complex biofilms on the tooth surface and cause destruction to tooth supporting tissues. The severity of this disease ranges from mild and reversible inflammation of the gingiva (gingivitis) to chronic destruction of connective tissues, the formation of periodontal pocket and ultimately result in loss of teeth. While human subgingival plaque harbors more than 500 bacterial species, considerable research has shown that Porphyromonas gingivalis, a Gram-negative anaerobic bacterium, is the major etiologic agent which contributes to chronic periodontitis. This black-pigmented bacterium produces a myriad of virulence factors that cause destruction to periodontal tissues either directly or indirectly by modulating the host inflammatory response. Here, this review provides an overview of P. gingivalis and how its virulence factors contribute to the pathogenesis with other microbiome consortium in oral cavity.
PMCID: PMC4746253  PMID: 26903954
Porphyromonas gingivalis; oral pathogen; periodontal disease; gingivitis; virulence factors; inflammatory response
16.  Direct Recognition of Fusobacterium nucleatum by the NK Cell Natural Cytotoxicity Receptor NKp46 Aggravates Periodontal Disease 
PLoS Pathogens  2012;8(3):e1002601.
Periodontitis is a common human chronic inflammatory disease that results in the destruction of the tooth attachment apparatus and tooth loss. Although infections with periopathogenic bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) and Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum) are essential for inducing periodontitis, the nature and magnitude of the disease is determined by the host's immune response. Here, we investigate the role played by the NK killer receptor NKp46 (NCR1 in mice), in the pathogenesis of periodontitis. Using an oral infection periodontitis model we demonstrate that following F. nucleatum infection no alveolar bone loss is observed in mice deficient for NCR1 expression, whereas around 20% bone loss is observed in wild type mice and in mice infected with P. gingivalis. By using subcutaneous chambers inoculated with F. nucleatum we demonstrate that immune cells, including NK cells, rapidly accumulate in the chambers and that this leads to a fast and transient, NCR1-dependant TNF-α secretion. We further show that both the mouse NCR1 and the human NKp46 bind directly to F. nucleatum and we demonstrate that this binding is sensitive to heat, to proteinase K and to pronase treatments. Finally, we show in vitro that the interaction of NK cells with F. nucleatum leads to an NCR1-dependent secretion of TNF-α. Thus, the present study provides the first evidence that NCR1 and NKp46 directly recognize a periodontal pathogen and that this interaction influences the outcome of F. nucleatum-mediated periodontitis.
Author Summary
Periodontal disease is a common bacterial-induced inflammatory process in which F. nucleatum and P. gingivalis infections lead to the destruction of the teeth supporting attachment apparatus. Previous reports demonstrated that immune cells aggravate the severity of the disease. However, whether NK cells in general and NKp46 (a major killer receptor expressed by NK cells) in particular, play a protective or destructive role in this disease is unknown. Using mice deficient in NCR1 (the mouse orthlogue of NKp46), we demonstrate that oral infection of mice with F. nucleatum, but not with P. gingivalis results in an NCR1-dependent alveolar bone loss. In addition, we show that F. nucleatum is recognized by NCR1 and NKp46 directly and that this recognition leads to the secretion of TNF-α, a central cytokine critically involved in the pathogenesis of periodontal destruction. Collectively, we show that NCR1 and NKp46 play a critical role in the pathogenesis of F. nucleatum-mediated periodontitis.
PMCID: PMC3310798  PMID: 22457623
17.  Periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis: the evidence accumulates for complex pathobiologic interactions 
Current opinion in rheumatology  2013;25(3):345-353.
Purpose of review
This review was conducted to focus on the recent clinical and translational research related to the associations between periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Recent findings
There is a growing interest in the associations between oral health and autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. A number of epidemiologic studies have described associations between rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease. Recent clinical studies continue to support these reports, and are increasingly linked with biological assessments to better understand the nature of these relationships. A number of recent studies have evaluated the periopathogenic roles of Porphyromonas gingivalis, the oral microbiome, and mechanisms of site-specific and substrate-specific citrullination. These are helping to further elucidate the interactions between these two inflammatory disease processes.
Studies of clinical oral health parameters, the gingival microenvironment, autoantibodies and biomarkers, and rheumatoid arthritis disease activity measures are providing a better understanding of the potential mechanisms responsible for rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease associations. The cumulative results and ongoing studies have the promise to identify novel mechanisms and interventional strategies to improve patient outcomes for both conditions.
PMCID: PMC4495574  PMID: 23455329
citrullination; periodontal disease; periodontitis; Porphyromonas gingivalis; rheumatoid arthritis
18.  Association of levels of antibodies against citrullinated cyclic peptides and citrullinated α-enolase in chronic and aggressive periodontitis as a risk factor of Rheumatoid arthritis: a case control study 
Periodontal disease could be a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It is assumed that the bacterial strain Porphyromonas gingivalis mediates citrullination of host peptides and thereby the generation of RA-associated autoantibodies in genetically predisposed individuals. For that reason non-RA individuals who suffered from generalized aggressive (GAgP, N = 51) and generalized chronic periodontitis (GChP, N = 50) were investigated regarding the occurrence of antibodies against citrullinated cyclic peptides (anti-CCP) and citrullinated α-enolase peptide-1 (anti-CEP-1) in comparison to non-RA non-periodontitis controls (N = 89). Furthermore, putative associations between infections with five periodontopathic bacteria or expression of certain human leucocyte antigens (HLA) to these autoantibodies were investigated.
The presence of anti-CCP and anti-CEP-1 in plasma samples was conducted with enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Subgingival plaque specimens were taken from the deepest pocket of each quadrant and pooled. For detection of DNA of five periodontopathic bacteria PCR with sequence specific oligonucleotides was carried out. Low resolution HLA typing was carried out with PCR with sequence specific primers. Differences between patients and controls were assessed using Chi square test with Yates correction or Fisher`s exact test if the expected number n in one group was <5.
Two patients with GAgP (3.9 %), no patient with GChP and two controls (2.2 %, pFisher = 0.662) were positive for anti-CEP-1 whereas no study participant was anti-CCP positive. Individuals with P. gingivalis were slightly more often anti-CEP-1 positive in comparison to individuals without P. gingivalis (3.2 vs. 1.1 %, pFisher = 0.366). Carrier of HLA-DQB1*06 or the HLA combination DRB1*13; DRB3*; DQB1*06 were slightly more anti-CEP-1 positive (6.1 and 4.3 %) than no carriers (0.7 and 0 %, pFisher 0.053).
GAgP and GChP and the presence of periodontopathic bacteria are not associated with an increased risk for occurrence of anti-CCP and anti-CEP-1 autoantibodies. The putative relationship between periodontitis and RA should be investigated in further studies.
PMCID: PMC4552989  PMID: 26319714
Periodontitis; Rheumatoid arthritis; Cyclic citrullinated peptides; Citrullinated α-enolase; P. gingivalis
19.  Expression levels of novel cytokine IL-32 in periodontitis and its role in the suppression of IL-8 production by human gingival fibroblasts stimulated with Porphyromonas gingivalis  
Journal of Oral Microbiology  2012;4:10.3402/jom.v4i0.14832.
IL-32 was recently found to be elevated in the tissue of rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease caused by polymicrobial infections that result in soft tissue destruction and alveolar bone loss. Although IL-32 is also thought to be associated with periodontal disease, its expression and possible role in periodontal tissue remain unclear. Therefore, this study investigated the expression patterns of IL-32 in healthy and periodontally diseased gingival tissue. The expression of IL-32 in cultured human gingival fibroblasts (HGF) as well as effects of autocrine IL-32 on IL-8 production from HGF were also examined.
Periodontal tissue was collected from both healthy volunteers and periodontitis patients, and immunofluorescent staining was performed in order to determine the production of IL-32. Using real-time PCR and ELISA, mRNA expression and protein production of IL-32 in HGF, stimulated by Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), were also investigated.
Contrary to our expectation, the production of IL-32 in the periodontitis patients was significantly lower than in the healthy volunteers. According to immunofluorescent microscopy, positive staining for IL-32 was detected in prickle and basal cell layers in the epithelium as well as fibroblastic cells in connective tissue. Addition of fixed Pg in vitro was found to suppress the otherwise constitutive expression of IL-32 mRNA and protein in HGF. However, recombinant IL-32 in vitro inhibited the expression of IL-8 mRNA by HGF stimulated with Pg. Interestingly, anti-IL-32 neutralizing antibody upregulated the IL-8 mRNA expression in non-stimulated HGF, indicating that constitutive expression of IL-32 in HGF suppressed IL-8 mRNA expression in the absence of bacterial stimulation.
These results indicate that IL-32 is constitutively produced by HGF which can be suppressed by Pg and may play a role in the downregulation of inflammatory responses, such as IL-8 production, in periodontal tissue.
PMCID: PMC3307671  PMID: 22435084
Interleukin-32; periodontal disease; Porphyromonas gingivalis; human gingival fibroblast; Interleukin-8
20.  Prospects for treatment of Porphyromonas gingivalis-mediated disease – immune-based therapy 
Journal of Oral Microbiology  2015;7:10.3402/jom.v7.29125.
Chronic periodontitis is an inflammatory disease of the supporting tissues of the teeth associated with a polymicrobial biofilm (subgingival plaque) accreted to the tooth which results in destruction of the tooth's supporting tissues. A characteristic feature of the disease-associated plaque is the emergence of proteolytic species. One of these species, Porphyromonas gingivalis has recently been described as a keystone pathogen as it dysregulates the host immune response to favour the polymicrobial biofilm disrupting homeostasis to cause dysbiosis and disease. The level of P. gingivalis in subgingival plaque above threshold levels (~10% of total bacterial cell load) has been demonstrated to predict imminent clinical attachment loss (disease progression) in humans. Porphyromonas gingivalis is found as microcolonies in the superficial layers of subgingival plaque adjacent to the periodontal pocket epithelium which helps explain the strong association with underlying tissue inflammation and disease at relatively low proportions (10%) of the total bacterial cell load of the plaque. The mouse periodontitis model has been used to show that inflammation is essential to allow establishment of P. gingivalis at the levels in plaque (10% or greater of total bacterial cell load) necessary to produce dysbiosis and disease. The extracellular proteinases “gingipains” (RgpA/B and Kgp) of P. gingivalis have been implicated as major virulence factors that are critical for dysbiosis and disease. This has resulted in the strategy of targeting the gingipains by vaccination. We have produced a recombinant immunogen which induces an immune response in mice that neutralises the proteolytic and host/bacterial binding functions of the gingipains. Using this immunogen as a therapeutic vaccine in mice already infected with P. gingivalis, we have shown that inflammation and alveolar bone loss can be substantially reduced. The protection was characterised by a predominant Th2 cytokine and antibody (IgG1) response and shown to be mediated by the gingipain neutralising antibodies using adoptive transfer and systemic/topical passive antibody experiments. Vaccination may be a useful adjunct to scaling and root planing in the treatment of P. gingivalis-mediated chronic periodontitis.
PMCID: PMC4576420  PMID: 26387645
21.  Toll-Like Receptor 9-Mediated Inflammation Triggers Alveolar Bone Loss in Experimental Murine Periodontitis 
Infection and Immunity  2015;83(7):2992-3002.
Chronic periodontitis is a local inflammatory disease induced by a dysbiotic microbiota and leading to destruction of the tooth-supporting structures. Microbial nucleic acids are abundantly present in the periodontium, derived through release after phagocytic uptake of microbes and/or from biofilm-associated extracellular DNA. Binding of microbial DNA to its cognate receptors, such as Toll-like receptor 9 (TLR9), can trigger inflammation. In this study, we utilized TLR9 knockout (TLR9−/−) mice and wild-type (WT) controls in a murine model of Porphyromonas gingivalis-induced periodontitis and report the first in vivo evidence that TLR9 signaling mediates the induction of periodontal bone loss. P. gingivalis-infected WT mice exhibited significantly increased bone loss compared to that in sham-infected WT mice or P. gingivalis-infected TLR9−/− mice, which were resistant to bone loss. Consistent with this, the expression levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), and receptor-activator of nuclear factor kappa B ligand (RANKL) were significantly elevated in the gingival tissues of the infected WT mice but not in infected TLR9−/− mice compared to their levels in controls. Ex vivo studies using splenocytes and bone marrow-derived macrophages revealed significantly diminished cytokine production in TLR9−/− cells relative to the cytokine production in WT cells in response to P. gingivalis, thereby implicating TLR9 in inflammatory responses to this organism. Intriguingly, compared to the cytokine production in WT cells, TLR9−/− cells exhibited significantly decreased proinflammatory cytokine production upon challenge with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) (TLR4 agonist) or Pam3Cys (TLR2 agonist), suggesting possible cross talk between TLR9, TLR4, and TLR2. Collectively, our results provide the first proof-of-concept evidence implicating TLR9-triggered inflammation in periodontal disease pathogenesis, thereby identifying a new potential therapeutic target to control periodontal inflammation.
PMCID: PMC4468549  PMID: 25964477
22.  Citrullination and Proteolytic Processing of Chemokines by Porphyromonas gingivalis 
Infection and Immunity  2014;82(6):2511-2519.
The outgrowth of Porphyromonas gingivalis within the inflammatory subgingival plaque is associated with periodontitis characterized by periodontal tissue destruction, loss of alveolar bone, periodontal pocket formation, and eventually, tooth loss. Potential virulence factors of P. gingivalis are peptidylarginine deiminase (PPAD), an enzyme modifying free or peptide-bound arginine to citrulline, and the bacterial proteases referred to as gingipains (Rgp and Kgp). Chemokines attract leukocytes during inflammation. However, posttranslational modification (PTM) of chemokines by proteases or human peptidylarginine deiminases may alter their biological activities. Since chemokine processing may be important in microbial defense mechanisms, we investigated whether PTM of chemokines by P. gingivalis enzymes occurs. Upon incubation of interleukin-8 (IL-8; CXCL8) with PPAD, only minor enzymatic citrullination was detected. In contrast, Rgp rapidly cleaved CXCL8 in vitro. Subsequently, different P. gingivalis strains were incubated with the chemokine CXCL8 or CXCL10 and their PTMs were investigated. No significant CXCL8 citrullination was detected for the tested strains. Interestingly, although considerable differences in the efficiency of CXCL8 degradation were observed with full cultures of various strains, similar rates of chemokine proteolysis were exerted by cell-free culture supernatants. Sequencing of CXCL8 incubated with supernatant or bacteria showed that CXCL8 is processed into its more potent forms consisting of amino acids 6 to 77 and amino acids 9 to 77 (the 6-77 and 9-77 forms, respectively). In contrast, CXCL10 was entirely and rapidly degraded by P. gingivalis, with no transient chemokine forms being observed. In conclusion, this study demonstrates PTM of CXCL8 and CXCL10 by gingipains of P. gingivalis and that strain differences may particularly affect the activity of these bacterial membrane-associated proteases.
PMCID: PMC4019151  PMID: 24686061
23.  Pathogen-induced inflammation at sites distant from oral infection: bacterial persistence and induction of cell-specific innate immune inflammatory pathways 
Molecular oral microbiology  2010;25(5):305-316.
A hallmark of infection with the gram-negative pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis is the induction of a chronic inflammatory response. P. gingivalis induces a local chronic inflammatory response that results in oral inflammatory bone destruction, which manifests as periodontal disease. In addition to chronic inflammation at the initial site of infection, mounting evidence has accumulated supporting a role for P. gingivalis-mediated periodontal disease as a risk factor for several systemic diseases including, diabetes, preterm birth, stroke, and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. A growing number of in vitro studies have demonstrated that P. gingivalis infection stimulates cell activation commensurate with expected responses paralleling inflammatory atherosclerotic-type responses. Furthermore, various mouse models have been used to examine the ability of P. gingivalis to stimulate chronic inflammatory plaque accumulation and recent studies have pointed to a pivotal role for innate immune signaling via the Toll-like receptors in the chronic inflammation associated with P. gingivalis infection. In this review we discuss the pathogen and host cell specificity of these responses and discuss possible mechanisms by which this oral pathogen can induce and maintain a chronic state of inflammation at sites distant from oral infection.
PMCID: PMC2951292  PMID: 20883220
atherosclerosis; bacterial persistence; immune evasion; innate immunity; Porphyromonas gingivalis; Toll-like receptor
24.  Periodontitis in established rheumatoid arthritis patients: a cross-sectional clinical, microbiological and serological study 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2012;14(5):R222.
The association between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and periodontitis is suggested to be linked to the periodontal pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis. Colonization of P. gingivalis in the oral cavity of RA patients has been scarcely considered. To further explore whether the association between periodontitis and RA is dependent on P. gingivalis, we compared host immune responses in RA patients with and without periodontitis in relation to presence of cultivable P. gingivalis in subgingival plaque.
In 95 RA patients, the periodontal condition was examined using the Dutch Periodontal Screening Index for treatment needs. Subgingival plaque samples were tested for presence of P. gingivalis by anaerobic culture technique. IgA, IgG and IgM antibody titers to P. gingivalis were measured by ELISA. Serum and subgingival plaque measures were compared to a matched control group of non-RA subjects.
A higher prevalence of severe periodontitis was observed in RA patients in comparison to matched non-RA controls (27% versus 12%, p < 0.001). RA patients with severe periodontitis had higher DAS28 scores than RA patients with no or moderate periodontitis (p < 0.001), while no differences were seen in IgM-RF or ACPA reactivity. Furthermore, RA patients with severe periodontitis had higher IgG- and IgM-anti P. gingivalis titers than non-RA controls with severe periodontitis (p < 0.01 resp. p < 0.05), although subgingival occurrence of P. gingivalis was not different.
Severity of periodontitis is related to severity of RA. RA patients with severe periodontitis have a more robust antibody response against P. gingivalis than non-RA controls, but not all RA patients have cultivable P. gingivalis.
PMCID: PMC3580533  PMID: 23075462
25.  Polymicrobial Infection with Major Periodontal Pathogens Induced Periodontal Disease and Aortic Atherosclerosis in Hyperlipidemic ApoEnull Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57178.
Periodontal disease (PD) and atherosclerosis are both polymicrobial and multifactorial and although observational studies supported the association, the causative relationship between these two diseases is not yet established. Polymicrobial infection-induced periodontal disease is postulated to accelerate atherosclerotic plaque growth by enhancing atherosclerotic risk factors of orally infected Apolipoprotein E deficient (ApoEnull) mice. At 16 weeks of infection, samples of blood, mandible, maxilla, aorta, heart, spleen, and liver were collected, analyzed for bacterial genomic DNA, immune response, inflammation, alveolar bone loss, serum inflammatory marker, atherosclerosis risk factors, and aortic atherosclerosis. PCR analysis of polymicrobial-infected (Porphyromonas gingivalis [P. gingivalis], Treponema denticola [T. denticola], and Tannerella forsythia [T. forsythia]) mice resulted in detection of bacterial genomic DNA in oral plaque samples indicating colonization of the oral cavity by all three species. Fluorescent in situ hybridization detected P. gingivalis and T. denticola within gingival tissues of infected mice and morphometric analysis showed an increase in palatal alveolar bone loss (p<0.0001) and intrabony defects suggesting development of periodontal disease in this model. Polymicrobial-infected mice also showed an increase in aortic plaque area (p<0.05) with macrophage accumulation, enhanced serum amyloid A, and increased serum cholesterol and triglycerides. A systemic infection was indicated by the detection of bacterial genomic DNA in the aorta and liver of infected mice and elevated levels of bacterial specific IgG antibodies (p<0.0001). This study was a unique effort to understand the effects of a polymicrobial infection with P. gingivalis, T. denticola and T. forsythia on periodontal disease and associated atherosclerosis in ApoEnull mice.
PMCID: PMC3581444  PMID: 23451182

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