Impaired innate immune signaling due to combined Toll-like receptor 2 and 4 deficiency affects both periodontitis and atherosclerosis in response to polybacterial infection. Academic Article uri icon


  • Plasma membrane-associated Toll-like receptor (TLR2 and TLR4) signaling contributes to oral microbe infection-induced periodontitis and atherosclerosis. We recently reported that either TLR2 or TLR4 receptor deficiency alters recognition of a consortium of oral pathogens, modifying host responses in periodontitis and atherosclerosis. We evaluated the effects of combined TLR2-/-TLR4-/- double knockout mice on innate immune signaling and induction of periodontitis and atherosclerosis after polybacterial infection with Porphyromonas gingivalis, Treponema denticola, Tannerella forsythia and Fusobacterium nucleatum in a mouse model. Multispecies infections established gingival colonization in all TLR2-/-TLR4-/- mice and induced production of bacterial-specific IgG antibodies. In combined TLR2-/-TLR4-/- deficiency there was, however, reduced alveolar bone resorption and mild gingival inflammation with minimal migration of junctional epithelium and infiltration of inflammatory cells. This indicates a central role for TLR2 and TLR4 in periodontitis. Atherosclerotic plaque progression was markedly reduced in infected TLR2-/-TLR4-/- mice or in heterozygotes indicating a profound effect on plaque growth. However, bacterial genomic DNA was detected in multiple organs in TLR2-/-TLR4-/- mice indicating an intravascular dissemination from gingival tissue to heart, aorta, kidney and lungs. TRL2 and TLR4 were dispensable for systemic spread after polybacterial infections but TLR2 and 4 deficiency markedly reduces atherosclerosis induced by oral bacteria.

published proceedings

  • Pathog Dis

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Chukkapalli, S. S., Ambadapadi, S., Varkoly, K., Jiron, J., Aguirre, J. I., Bhattacharyya, I., ... Kesavalu, L.

citation count

  • 15

publication date

  • January 2018