Chronic oral infection with major periodontal bacteria Tannerella forsythia modulates systemic atherosclerosis risk factors and inflammatory markers. Academic Article uri icon


  • Tannerella forsythia is a Gram-negative anaerobic organism that inhabits the subgingival cavity and initiates connective tissue destruction and alveolar bone resorption in periodontal disease (PD). PD is a chronic immunoinflammatory disease and has been linked to several systemic diseases including atherosclerosis. This study evaluated the effects of a chronic oral infection with T. forsythia ATCC 43037 on the induction of PD, inflammatory markers and atherosclerosis risk factors in hyperlipidemic ApoE(null) mice. Mice were orally infected for 12 and 24 weeks prior to euthanasia. Bacterial colonization of the oral cavity and bacteremia was confirmed via isolation of genomic DNA from oral plaque and tissues. Oral infection elicited significantly elevated levels of serum IgG and IgM antibodies and alveolar bone resorption compared to control mice. Tannerella forsythia-infected mice had increased serum amyloid A, and significantly reduced serum nitric oxide when compared to controls. Tannerella forsythia chronic infection also significantly increased serum lipoproteins suggesting altered cholesterol metabolism and potential for aortic inflammation. Despite enhanced acute phase reactants and altered lipid profiles, T. forsythia infection was associated with decreased aortic plaque. This study investigates the potential of a known periodontal bacterial pathogen found in atherosclerotic plaque in humans to accelerate atherosclerosis in hyperlipdemic mice.

published proceedings

  • Pathog Dis

author list (cited authors)

  • Chukkapalli, S. S., Rivera-Kweh, M. F., Velsko, I. M., Chen, H., Zheng, D., Bhattacharyya, I., ... Kesavalu, L.

citation count

  • 32

publication date

  • January 2015