Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species mediate the lipopolysaccharide-induced pro-inflammatory response in human gingival fibroblasts

Exp Cell Res. 2016 Sep 10;347(1):212-221. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2016.08.007. Epub 2016 Aug 8.


Although periodontal diseases are initiated by bacteria that colonize the tooth surface and gingival sulcus, the host response is believed to play an essential role in the breakdown of connective tissue and bone. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (mtROS) have been proposed to regulate the activation of the inflammatory response by the innate immune system. However, the role of mtROS in modulating the response of human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) to immune stimulation by lipopolysaccharides (LPS) has yet to be fully elucidated. Here, we showed that LPS from Porphyromonas gingivalis stimulated HGFs to increase mtROS production, which could be inhibited by treatment with a mitochondrial-targeted exogenous antioxidant (mito-TEMPO) or transfection with manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD). A time-course study revealed that an increase in the concentration of mtROS preceded the expression of inflammatory cytokines in HGFs. Mito-TEMPO treatment or MnSOD transfection also significantly prevented the LPS-induced increase of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-α. Furthermore, suppressing LPS-induced mtROS generation inhibited the activation of p38, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, and inhibitor of nuclear factor-κB kinase, as well as the nuclear localization of nuclear factor-κB. These results demonstrate that mtROS generation is a key signaling event in the LPS-induced pro-inflammatory response of HGFs.

Keywords: Cytokines; Human gingival fibroblasts; Inflammation; Mito-TEMPO; Mitochondrial ROS; MnSOD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cyclic N-Oxides / metabolism
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • Electrophoretic Mobility Shift Assay
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Fibroblasts / pathology*
  • Gingiva / pathology*
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Proteins / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / toxicity*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System / drug effects
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Cyclic N-Oxides
  • Cytokines
  • I-kappa B Proteins
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Superoxide Dismutase