Immunization to Porphyromonas gingivalis enhances the local pro-inflammatory response to subcutaneous bacterial challenge

Yael Houri-Haddad, W. Aubrey Soskolne, Lior Shapira*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    18 Scopus citations


    Background, aims: Human and animal studies have suggested that immunization to P. gingivalis might be beneficial for controlling periodontitis, by the induction of protective antibody response. The present study was designed to examine the effect of immunization on the local cellular, cytokine and antibody response to P. gingivalis in mice. Methods: Subcutaneous chambers were implanted in 3 groups of mice. 2 groups were then immunized with P. gingivalis in either incomplete Freund's (IFA) or an Alum-based adjuvant. The 3rd group served as the control. At baseline, all mice were challenged with an intra-chamber injection of P. gingivalis. Chamber exudates were sampled at baseline, 1 and 7 days post-challenge, following by determination of leukocyte counts and the cytokines TNF-α, IFNγ (pro-inflammatory) and IL-10 (anti-inflammatory). IgG levels to P. gingivalis were analyzed in both the exudates and serum. Results: Leukocyte accumulation increased in the chambers over the study period and was more marked in the immunized groups. P. gingivalis challenge induced the expression of the tested cytokines in all groups. Levels of IFNγ showed a significantly greater increase in the immunized groups on day 1 post-challenge. By day 7, the levels in the controls had reached those of the immunized groups. IL-10 levels were significantly higher in the control group compared to the immunized groups on day 1 and by day 7 they were reduced significantly in all groups to barely detectable levels. While there were no significant differences in TNF-α levels between IFA and control groups, they were significantly higher in the Alum group on day 0 and 7. Both immunization protocols induced anti-P. gingivalis IgG. The Alum group achieved the highest antibody levels, which were due to the increased expression of IgG1, a marker of a Th2-response. Conclusions: The results suggest that immunization to P. gingivalis results in enhanced expression of pro-inflammatory, tissue-destructive cytokines in the inflammatory site. The nature of the adjuvant used for immunization allows manipulation of the T-cell response, and alum was more effective in reducing the inflammatory response than IFA.

    Original languageAmerican English
    Pages (from-to)476-482
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Clinical Periodontology
    Issue number5
    StatePublished - May 2001


    • Cytokines
    • Immune response
    • Immunization
    • Inflammation
    • Porphyromonas gingivalis


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