Periodontitis is a polymicrobial infection caused by selected gram-negative bacteria including Porphyromonas gingivalis. Host cell invasion by P. gingivalis has been proposed as a possible mechanism of pathogenesis in periodontitis. The aim of the present study was to assess the influence of periodontopathogens on P. gingivalis invasion of gingival epithelial cells in polymicrobial infection. P. gingivalis was tested for its ability to invade a human gingival epithelial cell line Ca9-22 in co-infection with periodontopathogens, using an antibiotic protection assay. Among the pathogens tested, only Fusobacterium nucleatum demonstrated the ability to significantly promote P. gingivalis invasion (P < 0.01). This increased invasion was confirmed by confocal scanning laser microscopy utilizing a dual labeling technique. In contrast, co-infection with Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans or Tannerella forsythia attenuated P. gingivalis invasion. The fusobacterial enhancement of host cell invasion was not observed in co-incubation with other periodontopathogens tested. These results suggested that complex synergistic or antagonistic physiologic mechanisms are intimately involved in host cell invasion by P. gingivalis in polymicrobial infection. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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