Acquisition of oral microbes and associated systemic responses of newborn nonhuman primates

J. L. Ebersole, S. C. Holt, J. E. Delaney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The acquisition and development of the complex oral microbiome remain ill defined. While selected species of oral bacteria have been examined in relation to their initial colonization in neonates, a more detailed understanding of the dynamics of the micro-biome has been developed only in adults. The current investigation used a nonhuman primate model to document the kinetics of colonization of the oral cavities of newborns and infants by a range of oral commensals and pathogens. Differences in colonization were evaluated in newborns from mothers who were maintained on an oral hygiene regimen pre- and postparturition with those displaying naturally acquired gingivitis/ periodontitis. The results demonstrate distinct profiles of acquisition of selected oral bacteria, with the transmission of targeted pathogens, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, being passed on primarily from mothers with gingivitis/periodontitis. This colonization resulted in defined patterns of systemic antibody responses in the infants. The significant relative risk measures for infection with the pathogens, as well as the relationship of oral infection and blood serum antibody levels, were consistent with those of the newborns from mothers with gingivitis/ periodontitis. These findings indicate that the early acquisition of potentially pathogenic oral bacterial species might impact the development of mucosal responses in the gingiva and may provide an enhanced risk for the development of periodontitis later in life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-28
Number of pages8
JournalClinical and Vaccine Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Microbiology (medical)


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