The present study compared the effect of a single or a repeat challenge with the Gram-negative pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis on the local inflammatory response within subcutaneous chamber model in mice. Subcutaneous chambers were implanted 2 weeks prior to the final challenge. The repeat-challenge (REP) group received two intrachamber bacterial injections 14 days apart, while the single-injection group (SIN) received only a single bacterial challenge. Injection of saline was used as the control. The cellular contents of the chamber exudates were used for differential cell counts, and the supernatants were analysed for tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interferon-γ (IFN-γ), and interleukin (IL)-10 levels. Immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) and IgG2a levels to P. gingivalis in the exudates were also determined. The results showed that the leucocyte counts increased significantly post-challenge, and the REP group showed the highest number of lymphocytes and neutrophils. Both P. gingivalis-challenged groups exhibited significant increase in TNF-α and IL-10 levels at day 1 post-challenge. TNF-α levels in the chamber exudate were threefold higher in the REP group compared with the SIN group on day 1 post-challenge (P < 0.05). In contrast, IL-10 levels were significantly lower in the REP group 1 day post-challenge compared with the SIN group. The REP group had significantly higher levels of IFN-γ at baseline, and this difference remained significant 1 day post-challenge. Analysis of antibody levels to P. gingivalis showed that while the control and the SIN groups had no anti-P. gingivalis IgG in the chamber exudate during the 7-day study period, the REP group showed high anti-P. gingivalis IgG levels. In addition, the titres of IgG2a were fivefold higher than the IgG1 titres. The results showed that a repeat local challenge with P. gingivalis augmented the proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ, while inhibiting the accumulation of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10. This shift towards a T helper 1 (Th1)-dominant response was reflected in the relatively high anti-P. gingivalis IgG2a titres in the local inflammatory environment 7 days post-challenge.