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1.  Caries induced cytokine network in the odontoblast layer of human teeth 
BMC Immunology  2011;12:9.
Background
Immunologic responses of the tooth to caries begin with odontoblasts recognizing carious bacteria. Inflammatory propagation eventually leads to tooth pulp necrosis and danger to health. The present study aims to determine cytokine gene expression profiles generated within human teeth in response to dental caries in vivo and to build a mechanistic model of these responses and the downstream signaling network.
Results
We demonstrate profound differential up-regulation of inflammatory genes in the odontoblast layer (ODL) in human teeth with caries in vivo, while the pulp remains largely unchanged. Interleukins, chemokines, and all tested receptors thereof were differentially up-regulated in ODL of carious teeth, well over one hundred-fold for 35 of 84 genes. By interrogating reconstructed protein interaction networks corresponding to the differentially up-regulated genes, we develop the hypothesis that pro-inflammatory cytokines highly expressed in ODL of carious teeth, IL-1β, IL-1α, and TNF-α, carry the converged inflammatory signal. We show that IL1β amplifies antimicrobial peptide production in odontoblasts in vitro 100-fold more than lipopolysaccharide, in a manner matching subsequent in vivo measurements.
Conclusions
Our data suggest that ODL amplifies bacterial signals dramatically by self-feedback cytokine-chemokine signal-receptor cycling, and signal convergence through IL1R1 and possibly others, to increase defensive capacity including antimicrobial peptide production to protect the tooth and contain the battle against carious bacteria within the dentin.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-12-9
PMCID: PMC3036664  PMID: 21261944
2.  PAR1- and PAR2-induced innate immune markers are negatively regulated by PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in oral keratinocytes 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:53.
Background
Protease-Activated Receptors (PARs), members of G-protein-coupled receptors, are activated by proteolytic activity of various proteases. Activation of PAR1 and PAR2 triggers innate immune responses in human oral keratinocytes (HOKs), but the signaling pathways downstream of PAR activation in HOKs have not been clearly defined. In this study, we aimed to determine if PAR1- and PAR2-mediated signaling differs in the induction of innate immune markers CXCL3, CXCL5 and CCL20 via ERK, p38 and PI3K/Akt.
Results
Our data show the induction of innate immunity by PAR1 requires both p38 and ERK MAP kinases, while PAR2 prominently signals via p38. However, inhibition of PI3K enhances expression of innate immune markers predominantly via suppressing p38 phosphorylation signaled by PAR activation.
Conclusion
Our data indicate that proteases mediating PAR1 and PAR2 activation differentially signal via MAP kinase cascades. In addition, the production of chemokines induced by PAR1 and PAR2 is suppressed by PI3K/Akt, thus keeping the innate immune responses of HOK in balance. The results of our study provide a novel insight into signaling pathways involved in PAR activation.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-11-53
PMCID: PMC2988058  PMID: 21029417
3.  Differential and coordinated expression of defensins and cytokines by gingival epithelial cells and dendritic cells in response to oral bacteria 
BMC Immunology  2010;11:37.
Background
Epithelial cells and dendritic cells (DCs) both initiate and contribute to innate immune responses to bacteria. However, much less is known about the coordinated regulation of innate immune responses between GECs and immune cells, particularly DCs in the oral cavity. The present study was conducted to investigate whether their responses are coordinated and are bacteria-specific in the oral cavity.
Results
The β-defensin antimicrobial peptides hBD1, hBD2 and hBD3 were expressed by immature DCs as well as gingival epithelial cells (GECs). HBD1, hBD2 and hBD3 are upregulated in DCs while hBD2 and hBD3 are upregulated in GECs in response to bacterial stimulation. Responses of both cell types were bacteria-specific, as demonstrated by distinctive profiles of hBDs mRNA expression and secreted cytokines and chemokines in response to cell wall preparations of various bacteria of different pathogenicity: Fusobacterium nucleatum, Actinomyces naeslundii and Porphyromonas gingivalis. The regulation of expression of hBD2, IL-8, CXCL2/GROβ and CCL-20/MIP3α by GECs was greatly enhanced by conditioned medium from bacterially activated DCs. This enhancement was primarily mediated via IL-1β, since induction was largely attenuated by IL-1 receptor antagonist. In addition, the defensins influence DCs by eliciting differential cytokine and chemokine secretion. HBD2 significantly induced IL-6, while hBD3 induced MCP-1 to approximately the same extent as LPS, suggesting a unique role in immune responses.
Conclusions
The results suggest that cytokines, chemokines and β-defensins are involved in interaction of these two cell types, and the responses are bacteria-specific. Differential and coordinated regulation between GECs and DCs may be important in regulation of innate immune homeostasis and response to pathogens in the oral cavity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2172-11-37
PMCID: PMC2912831  PMID: 20618959

Results 1-3 (3)