Immunization with Porphyromonas gingivalis Cysteine Protease: Effects on Experimental Gingivitis and Ligature-Induced Periodontitis in Macaca fascicularis

Alan J. Moritz, David Cappelli, Marilyn S. Lantz, Stanley C. Holt, Jeffrey L. Ebersole

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61 Scopus citations


TARGETTNG BACTERIAL VIRULENCE FACTORS such as proteases for immunization may hold the key to limiting or preventing loss of attachment and alveolar bone in periodontal disease. This study examined the clinical, microbiological, and immunological responses following active immunization with a purified Porphyromonas gingivalis cysteine protease (porphypain-2) in the nonhuman primate (Nhp) Macaca fascicularis. One group of Nhp was immunized with porphypain-2 antigen while control Nhp received placebo injections. All Nhp were subjected to experimental gingivitis followed by ligature-induced periodontitis in a split-mouth design. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay demonstrated that immunization elicited a significantly elevated and specific IgG antibody response to both whole cell P. gingivalis (36-fold) and to porphypain-2 (194-fold). Checkerboard hybridization DNA analysis of subgingival plaque from ligated sextants demonstrated that 25% more Gram-negative anaerobic species became significantly elevated from baseline and at earlier timepoints in the control group than in the immunized group. Immunization with this protease did not suppress the emergence of P. gingivalis. Clinical indices showed few changes related to immunization. Alveolar bone density changes demonstrated a highly significant loss in ligated sextants compared to non-ligated sextants within the control group (P < 0.001), and a smaller but significant difference within the immunized group (P = 0.043). Comparison of ligated sextants only demonstrated more bone loss in the control group versus the immunized group (-13.07±9.51 versus -9.41±6.18; computer-assisted densitometric image analysis units ± SD); the difference approached, but did not reach, significance. The results suggest that porphypain-2 may contribute to the pathogenic potential of the subgingival plaque microbiota in the Nhp model of ligature-induced periodontitis, and that active immunization with porphypain-2 appeared capable of altering this pathogenic response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-697
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of periodontology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • Animal studies
  • Antibodies, bacterial
  • Immunization
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


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