Porphyromonas gingivalis participates in pathogenesis of human abdominal aortic aneurysm by neutrophil activation. Proof of concept in rats

PLoS One. 2011 Apr 13;6(4):e18679. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018679.


Background: Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (AAAs) represent a particular form of atherothrombosis where neutrophil proteolytic activity plays a major role. We postulated that neutrophil recruitment and activation participating in AAA growth may originate in part from repeated episodes of periodontal bacteremia.

Methods and findings: Our results show that neutrophil activation in human AAA was associated with Neutrophil Extracellular Trap (NET) formation in the IntraLuminal Thrombus, leading to the release of cell-free DNA. Human AAA samples were shown to contain bacterial DNA with high frequency (11/16), and in particular that of Porphyromonas gingivalis (Pg), the most prevalent pathogen involved in chronic periodontitis, a common form of periodontal disease. Both DNA reflecting the presence of NETs and antibodies to Pg were found to be increased in plasma of patients with AAA. Using a rat model of AAA, we demonstrated that repeated injection of Pg fostered aneurysm development, associated with pathological characteristics similar to those observed in humans, such as the persistence of a neutrophil-rich luminal thrombus, not observed in saline-injected rats in which a healing process was observed.

Conclusions: Thus, the control of periodontal disease may represent a therapeutic target to limit human AAA progression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / immunology
  • Aortic Aneurysm, Abdominal / microbiology*
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Western
  • DNA Primers
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neutrophil Activation*
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / genetics
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / physiology*
  • Rats


  • DNA Primers