Background: Whole saliva provokes a substantial pro-inflammatory response in gingival fibroblasts. This raises the question whether the salivary pellet, which is used for diagnostic purposes, also has a pro-inflammatory capacity and, if yes, what the underlying mechanisms at the molecular level are. Methods: We examined the ability of extensively washed salivary pellets to provoke the expression of chemokines in gingival fibroblasts by real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunoassays. Protein composition was determined with proteomic analysis. Endotoxins were analyzed by a Limulus assay and removed by affinity chromatography. The inhibitors TAK-242 and BAY11-7082 were used to determine the involvement of the TLR4 and NF-kB signaling, respectively. Western blot was performed to detect phosphorylated p65. Results: The experiments show that salivary pellets and the corresponding washing solution contain pro-inflammatory activity without impairing cell viability. Proteomic analysis revealed proteins with a binding capacity for lipopolysaccharides, and the Limulus assay indicated the presence of endotoxin in the salivary pellets. Blocking TLR4 with TAK-242 and depletion of endotoxins both lowered the capacity of salivary pellets to increase chemokine expression and phosphorylation of p65. BAY11-7082 suppressed chemokine expression in response to the salivary pellets. Autoclaving salivary pellets also reduced their pro-inflammatory activity. Conclusions: The data support the molecular mechanism of a TLR4-NF-kB-dependent pro-inflammatory response of the gingival fibroblasts exposed to preparations of washed salivary pellets. Together, the data indicate that the salivary pellet is rich in endotoxin but it is mainly a heat labile fraction that accounts for the chemokine expression in the bioassay.
Müller, H. D. H. D., Cvikl, B. B., Lussi, A. A., & Gruber, R. R. (2016). Salivary pellets induce a pro-inflammatory response involving the TLR4-NF-kB pathway in gingival fibroblasts. BMC Oral Health, 17(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12903-016-0229-5