These studies determined the ability of selected periodontopathogens to synergistically initiate soft tissue destruction in a murine abscess model. The development of immunity following recovery from infection or by active immunization was also examined. Mice were infected with P. gingivalis W50, F. nucleatum T18, or a combination of the two microorganisms. F. nucleatum caused only a localized lesion in contrast to P. gingivalis which caused a spreading suppurative inflammatory lesion of the skin and subcutaneous tissues, which, depending upon the dose, could result in death. Infection of mice with a combination of P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum elicited a significantly greater lesion size (P<0.001) and lethality compared with P. gingivalis alone. Mice infected with a subclinical dose (no visible lesion) of P. gingivalis failed to develop protective immunity to a secondary P. gingivalis challenge. Mice that had recovered from P. gingivalis lesions demonstrated partial protection against subsequent P. gingivalis challenge; however, the immunity was less protective against the mixed F. nucleatum+P. gingivalis infection. Active immunization with P. gingivalis protected against both the P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum+P. gingivalis challenges and this protection was correlated with the levels of specific serum immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibody. The results indicated that the murine model is ideally suited to examine bacterially-mediated mixed infections that result in soft tissue destruction. This destruction can be minimized, but not abrogated, with development of immunity. Challenge with sufficient numbers of the pathogens can overwhelm the acquired immunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases