Porphyromonas gingivalis induction of mediator and cytokine secretion by human gingival fibroblasts

M. J. Steffen, S. C. Holt, Jeffrey L. Ebersole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that bacterial viability and strain characteristics of Porphyromonas gingivalis could affect the induction of pro-inflammatory mediator secretion by human gingival fibroblast cultures. Both killed and viable P. gingivalis elicited production of prostaglandin E2, interleukin-1β (IL-1β), IL-6 and IL-8, although killed P. gingivalis induced generally higher levels, particularly IL-6 and IL-8, compared with the viable bacteria. P. gingivalis strains, which exhibited wild-type levels of trypsin-like protease activity, stimulated human gingival fibroblasts to secrete increased levels of prostaglandin E2 and IL-1β, although minimal levels of IL-6 and IL-8 were noted in supernatants from the gingival fibroblast cells. P. gingivalis strains BEI and NG4B19, which have either decreased or undetectable levels of trypsin-like protease, respectively, induced significantly greater IL-6 and IL-8 levels in gingival fibroblast cultures compared with the other strains. The ability of antibody to P. gingivalis to alter human gingival fibroblast production of pro-inflammatory mediators was tested using nonhuman primate antisera. Both immune and nonimmune sera altered the P. gingivalis-generated pattern of mediators from the gingival fibroblasts. We conclude that: (i) viable and killed P. gingivalis were capable of inducing various pro-inflammatory cytokines from human gingival fibroblasts; (ii) strain differences in cytokine induction were noted, and the expression of a trypsin-like protease activity was related to decreased extracellular levels of IL-6 and IL-8; and (iii) the presence of serum, particularly with specific antibody to P. gingivalis, significantly altered human gingival fibroblast cytokine production compared with P. gingivalis alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)172-180
Number of pages9
JournalOral Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • Cytokines
  • Gingival fibroblasts
  • Periodontal disease
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)


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