Mouse model of experimental periodontitis induced by Porphyromonas gingivalis/Fusobacterium nucleatum infection: bone loss and host response

J Clin Periodontol. 2009 May;36(5):406-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2009.01393.x.


Aim: To compare the effect of oral infection with Porphyromonas gingivalis or Fusobacterium nucleatum versus infection with both bacteria on mouse periodontal tissues, and to characterize the inflammatory response.

Materials and methods: Mice were orally infected with P. gingivalis, F. nucleatum or both. At 42 days post-infection, alveolar bone loss was quantified using micro-computerized tomography. Tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin (IL)-1beta levels induced by the infection were quantified using the subcutaneous chamber model.

Results: Mice orally infected with F. nucleatum/P. gingivalis exhibited significantly more bone loss compared with that of mono-infected and sham-infected mice. F. nucleatum/P. gingivalis infection also increased the levels of TNF-alpha and IL1beta compared with the levels found in the mono-infected groups.

Conclusions: Polymicrobial infection with P. gingivalis/F. nucleatum aggravates alveolar bone loss and induces a stronger inflammatory response compared with that observed upon infection with either bacterium alone. The results suggest that oral infection of mice with a mixture of P. gingivalis and F. nucleatum may be superior to mono-infection models of experimental periodontitis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alveolar Bone Loss / immunology
  • Alveolar Bone Loss / microbiology*
  • Animals
  • Bacteroidaceae Infections / immunology
  • Bacteroidaceae Infections / microbiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Fusobacterium Infections / immunology
  • Fusobacterium Infections / microbiology*
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / immunology
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / physiology*
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / immunology
  • Inflammation Mediators / analysis
  • Interleukin-1beta / analysis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mouth / microbiology
  • Periodontitis / immunology
  • Periodontitis / microbiology*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / immunology
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / physiology*
  • Skin / immunology
  • Skin / microbiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis
  • Virulence
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Interleukin-1beta
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha