Role of complement in host-microbe homeostasis of the periodontium

Semin Immunol. 2013 Feb;25(1):65-72. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2013.04.004. Epub 2013 May 16.


Complement plays a key role in immunity and inflammation through direct effects on immune cells or via crosstalk and regulation of other host signaling pathways. Deregulation of these finely balanced complement activities can link infection to inflammatory tissue damage. Periodontitis is a polymicrobial community-induced chronic inflammatory disease that can destroy the tooth-supporting tissues. In this review, we summarize and discuss evidence that complement is involved in the dysbiotic transformation of the periodontal microbiota and in the inflammatory process that leads to the destruction of periodontal bone. Recent insights into the mechanisms of complement involvement in periodontitis have additionally provided likely targets for therapeutic intervention against this oral disease.

Keywords: C5a receptor; Complement; Dysbiosis; Periodontitis; Porphyromonas gingivalis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Complement System Proteins / immunology*
  • Dysbiosis / drug therapy
  • Dysbiosis / immunology*
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions*
  • Humans
  • Microbiota / drug effects
  • Microbiota / immunology
  • Periodontitis / immunology*
  • Periodontitis / prevention & control
  • Periodontium / drug effects
  • Periodontium / immunology*
  • Periodontium / microbiology
  • Receptor, Anaphylatoxin C5a / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Receptor, Anaphylatoxin C5a
  • Complement System Proteins