Background: Chronic periodontitis (CP) is an inflammatory disease in which cytokines play a major role in the progression of disease. Anti-inflammatory cytokines (interleukin 4 [IL-4] and IL-10) were reported to be absent or reduced in diseased periodontal tissues, suggesting an imbalance between the proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory mediators. This study tests the hypothesis that there is cellular crosstalk mediated by proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines and that blocking proinflammatory cytokine (tumor necrosis factor-α [TNF-α] and IL-1) production will enhance anti-inflammatory cytokine (IL-4 and IL-10) production from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in response to Porphyromonas gingivalis.
Methods: PBMCs were isolated from individuals diagnosed with CP or healthy individuals and cultured for 24 hours. Concanavalin A (ConA) was used as an activator of lymphocyte function. Live and heat-killed P. gingivalis or lipopolysaccharide from P. gingivalis were used as the bacterial stimulants. TNF-α and IL-1 production was neutralized by specific antibodies against TNF-α and IL-1α or IL-β. Culture supernatants were evaluated by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-4, and IL-10 production.
Results: Live P. gingivalis did not result in any significant IL-10 or IL-4 release, whereas heat-killed P. gingivalis led to a significant increase in IL-10 levels compared with unstimulated or live P. gingivalis-stimulated cells from both healthy individuals or those with CP. Overall, PBMCs from patients with CP produced significantly lower IL-10 in response to ConA and P. gingivalis, suggesting chronic suppression of the anti-inflammatory cytokine production. Blocking the proinflammatory cytokine response did not result in any substantial change in IL-10 or IL-4 response to live P. gingivalis. Blocking the proinflammatory cytokine response restored IL-10 production by cells from CP in response to P. gingivalis lipopolysaccharide.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that PBMCs from patients with CP have suppressed anti-inflammatory cytokine production that can, in part, be restored by neutralizing proinflammatory cytokines. Monocytes are an important source of IL-10 production, and monocyte-derived IL-10 might play a regulatory role in the pathogenesis of CP.