Mixture of periodontopathogenic bacteria influences interaction with KB cells

Anaerobe. 2010 Aug;16(4):461-8. doi: 10.1016/j.anaerobe.2010.03.009. Epub 2010 Apr 7.


Introduction: The purpose of this study was to investigate the adhesion and invasion of periodontopathogenic bacteria in varied mixed infections and the release of interleukins from an epithelial cell line (KB cells).

Methods: KB cells were co-cultured with Porphyromonas gingivalis ATCC 33277 and M5-1-2, Tannerella forsythia ATCC 43037, Treponema denticola ATCC 35405 and Fusobacterium nucleatum ATCC 25586 in single and mixed infections. The numbers of adherent and internalized bacteria were determined up to 18 h after bacterial exposure. Additionally, the mRNA expression and concentrations of released interleukin (IL)-6 and IL-8 were measured.

Results: All periodontopathogenic bacteria adhered and internalized in different numbers to KB cells, but individually without any evidence of co-aggregation also to F. nucleatum. High levels of epithelial mRNA of IL-6 and IL-8 were detectable after all bacterial challenges. After the mixed infection of P. gingivalis ATCC 33277 and F. nucleatum ATCC 25586 the highest levels of released interleukins were found. No IL-6 and IL-8 were detectable after the mixed infection of P. gingivalis M5-1-2 and F. nucleatum ATCC 25586 and the fourfold infection of P. gingivalis ATCC 33277, T. denticola ATCC 35405, T. forsythia ATCC 43037 and F. nucleatum ATCC 25586.

Conclusion: Anaerobic periodontopathogenic bacteria promote the release of IL-6 and IL-8 by epithelial cells. Despite a continuous epithelial expression of IL-8 mRNA by all bacterial infections these effects are temporary because of the time-dependent degradation of cytokines by bacterial proteases. Mixed infections have a stronger virulence potential than single bacteria. Further research is necessary to evaluate the role of mixed infections and biofilms in the pathogenesis of periodontitis.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion*
  • Bacteroidetes / growth & development
  • Bacteroidetes / pathogenicity*
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Epithelial Cells / immunology
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology*
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / growth & development
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / metabolism*
  • KB Cells
  • Periodontal Diseases / microbiology*
  • Treponema denticola / growth & development
  • Treponema denticola / pathogenicity*


  • Interleukins