Modulation of neutrophil extracellular trap and reactive oxygen species release by periodontal bacteria

Josefine Hirschfeld, Phillipa White, Michael Milward, Paul Cooper, Iain Chapple

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26 Citations (Scopus)
186 Downloads (Pure)


Oral bacteria are the main trigger for the development of periodontitis, and some species are known to modulate neutrophil function. This study aimed to explore the release of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), associated antimicrobial proteins, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in response to periodontal bacteria, as well as the underlying pathways. Isolated peripheral blood neutrophils were stimulated with 19 periodontal bacteria. NET and ROS release, as well as the expression of NET-bound antimicrobial proteins, elastase, myeloperoxidase, and cathepsin G, in response to these species was measured using fluorescence-based assays. NET and ROS release was monitored after the addition of NADP (NADPH) oxidase pathway modulators and inhibitors of Toll-like receptors (TLRs). Moreover, bacterial entrapment by NETs was visualized microscopically, and bacterial killing was assessed by bacterial culture. Certain microorganisms, e.g., Veillonella parvula and Streptococcus gordonii, stimulated higher levels of ROS and NET release than others. NETs were found to entrap, but not kill, all periodontal bacteria tested. NADPH oxidase pathway modulators decreased ROS production but not NET production in response to the bacteria. Interestingly, TLR inhibitors did not impact ROS and NET release. These data suggest that the variability in the neutrophil response toward different bacteria may contribute to the pathogenesis of periodontal diseases by mechanisms such as bacterial avoidance of host responses and activation of neutrophils. Moreover, our results indicate that bacterium-stimulated NET release may arise in part via NADPH oxidase-independent mechanisms. The role of TLR signaling in bacterium-induced ROS and NET release needs to be further elucidated.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e00297-17
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number12
Early online date17 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • periodontitis
  • oral bacteria
  • Neutrophils
  • NETs
  • reactive oxygen species


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