Virulence of major periodontal pathogens and lack of humoral immune protection in a rat model of periodontal disease. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: This study was designed to test the hypothesis that periodontal pathogens Tannerella forsythia and Porphyromonas gingivalis are synergistic in terms of virulence potential using a model of mixed-microbial infection in rats. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Three groups of rats were infected orally with either T. forsythia or P. gingivalis in mono-bacterial infections or as mixed-microbial infections for 12 weeks and a sham-infected group were used as a control. This study examined bacterial infection, inflammation, immunity, and alveolar bone loss changes with disease progression. RESULTS: Tannerella forsythia and P. gingivalis genomic DNA was detected in microbial samples from infected rats by PCR indicating their colonization in the rat oral cavity. Primary infection induced significantly high IgG, IgG2b, IgG1, and IgG2a antibody levels indicating activation of mixed Th1 and Th2 immune responses. Rats infected with the mixed-microbial consortium exhibited significantly increased palatal horizontal and interproximal alveolar bone loss. Histological examinations indicated significant hyperplasia of the gingival epithelium with moderate inflammatory infiltration and apical migration of junctional epithelium. The results observed differ compared to uninfected controls. CONCLUSION: Our results indicated that T. forsythia and P. gingivalis exhibit virulence, but not virulence synergy, resulting in the immuno-inflammatory responses and lack of humoral immune protection during periodontitis in rats.

published proceedings

  • Oral Dis

author list (cited authors)

  • Verma, R. K., Bhattacharyya, I., Sevilla, A., Lieberman, I., Pola, S., Nair, M., ... Kesavalu, L.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Verma, RK||Bhattacharyya, I||Sevilla, A||Lieberman, I||Pola, S||Nair, M||Wallet, SM||Aukhil, I||Kesavalu, L

publication date

  • January 2010