Polymicrobial infection with major periodontal pathogens induced periodontal disease and aortic atherosclerosis in hyperlipidemic ApoE(null) mice. Academic Article uri icon


  • Periodontal disease (PD) and atherosclerosis are both polymicrobial and multifactorial and although observational studies supported the association, the causative relationship between these two diseases is not yet established. Polymicrobial infection-induced periodontal disease is postulated to accelerate atherosclerotic plaque growth by enhancing atherosclerotic risk factors of orally infected Apolipoprotein E deficient (ApoE(null)) mice. At 16 weeks of infection, samples of blood, mandible, maxilla, aorta, heart, spleen, and liver were collected, analyzed for bacterial genomic DNA, immune response, inflammation, alveolar bone loss, serum inflammatory marker, atherosclerosis risk factors, and aortic atherosclerosis. PCR analysis of polymicrobial-infected (Porphyromonas gingivalis [P. gingivalis], Treponema denticola [T. denticola], and Tannerella forsythia [T. forsythia]) mice resulted in detection of bacterial genomic DNA in oral plaque samples indicating colonization of the oral cavity by all three species. Fluorescent in situ hybridization detected P. gingivalis and T. denticola within gingival tissues of infected mice and morphometric analysis showed an increase in palatal alveolar bone loss (p<0.0001) and intrabony defects suggesting development of periodontal disease in this model. Polymicrobial-infected mice also showed an increase in aortic plaque area (p<0.05) with macrophage accumulation, enhanced serum amyloid A, and increased serum cholesterol and triglycerides. A systemic infection was indicated by the detection of bacterial genomic DNA in the aorta and liver of infected mice and elevated levels of bacterial specific IgG antibodies (p<0.0001). This study was a unique effort to understand the effects of a polymicrobial infection with P. gingivalis, T. denticola and T. forsythia on periodontal disease and associated atherosclerosis in ApoE(null) mice.

published proceedings

  • PLoS One

author list (cited authors)

  • Rivera, M. F., Lee, J., Aneja, M., Goswami, V., Liu, L., Velsko, I. M., ... Kesavalu, L. N.

citation count

  • 72

complete list of authors

  • Rivera, Mercedes F||Lee, Ju-Youn||Aneja, Monika||Goswami, Vishalkant||Liu, Liying||Velsko, Irina M||Chukkapalli, Sasanka S||Bhattacharyya, Indraneel||Chen, Hao||Lucas, Alexandra R||Kesavalu, Lakshmyya N

editor list (cited editors)

  • Seshu, J.

publication date

  • January 2013