IL-23-producing CD68(+) macrophage-like cells predominate within an IL-17-polarized infiltrate in chronic periodontitis lesions

J Clin Periodontol. 2011 Oct;38(10):879-86. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-051X.2011.01752.x. Epub 2011 Aug 31.


Aim: To analyse antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such as dendritic cells (DCs), macrophages (Mo) or B cells depending on the regional site of chronic periodontitis (CP), and to investigate their relation to Th17 cells.

Material and methods: Biopsies from oral mucosa as well as the coronal and bottom regions of CP were analysed by immunhistochemistry, immunofluorescence, flow cytometry and real-time PCR.

Results: A predominance of CD68(+) Mo-like cells and CD20(+) B cells and strong Th17 infiltration was observed in the bottom region of CP lesions, while CD1a(+) DCs were only detected in the coronal regions, where Th17 infiltration was low. Furthermore, CD68(+) Mo-like cells displayed CD163 expression as a typical Mo-marker, but expressed in parallel typical DCs markers, such as CD11c or CD209 and TLR4. Interestingly, Th17-inducing cytokine IL-23p19 was produced by CD68(+) Mo-like cells, but not CD20(+) B cells. Moreover, the stimulation of in vitro generated CD68(+) Mo-like cells by Porphyromonas gingivalis-derived (Pg) lipopolysaccharide resulted in the upregulation of their IL-23p19 mRNA expression, which was inhibited by the blockage of TLR4.

Conclusions: In view of these data, a picture emerges that IL-17-producing cells in CP could be in part directed by CD68(+) Mo-like cells, which produce IL-23p19 upon TLR4 activation by Pg.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / cytology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology*
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / metabolism
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antigens, CD20 / immunology
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Chronic Periodontitis / immunology*
  • Chronic Periodontitis / pathology
  • Female
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Interleukin-23 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-23 Subunit p19 / immunology
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Mucosa / immunology
  • Mouth Mucosa / pathology
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis / immunology
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Th17 Cells / immunology*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / physiology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, CD20
  • Antigens, Differentiation, Myelomonocytic
  • CD68 antigen, human
  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-23
  • Interleukin-23 Subunit p19
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4