Differential Activation of Nf-Kb and Gene Expression in Oral Epithelial Cells By Periodontal Pathogens

Michael Milward, Iain Chapple, Helen Wright, Jane Millard, John Matthews, Paul Cooper

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85 Citations (Scopus)


To investigate the molecular effects of the periodontopathogens Fusobacterium nucleatum (FN) and Porphyromonas gingivalis (PG) on the oral epithelium, the H400 oral epithelial cell line was cultured in the presence of non-viable bacteria. Following confirmation of the presence of transcripts for the bacterial pattern recognition receptors in H400 cells, Toll-like receptors -2, -4 and -9, and components of the NF-kappaB signalling pathway, immunocytochemical analyses were performed showing that NF-kappaB was activated within 1 h of exposure to both periodontopathogens. A significantly greater number of NF-kappaB nuclear translocations were apparent following H400 cell exposure to FN as compared with PG. Gene expression analyses indicated that transcripts known to be regulated by the NF-kappaB pathway, including cytokines/chemokines TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, IL-8, MCP-1/CCL2 and GM-CSF, were up-regulated following 4 and 24 h of exposure to both periodontopathogens. In addition, H400 periodontopathogen exposure resulted in differential regulation of transcripts for several cytokeratin gene family members. Consistent with the immunocytochemical data, microarray results indicated that FN induced a greater number of gene expression changes than PG following 24 h of exposure, 609 and 409 genes, respectively. Ninety-one genes were commonly differentially expressed by both periodontopathogens and represented biological processes commonly associated with periodontitis. Gene expression analyses by reserve transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of molecules identified from the microarray data sets, including Heme oxygenase-1, lysyl oxidase, SOD2, CCL20 and calprotectin components, confirmed their differential expression profiles induced by the two periodontopathogens. FN and PG have clearly different molecular effects on oral epithelial cells, potentially highlighting the importance of the composition of the plaque biofilm in periodontitis pathogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-324
Number of pages18
JournalClinical & Experimental Immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • NF kappaB
  • periodontitis
  • bacteria
  • epithelium


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