Human oral mucosa cell atlas reveals a stromal-neutrophil axis regulating tissue immunity

Cell. 2021 Jul 22;184(15):4090-4104.e15. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.05.013. Epub 2021 Jun 14.


The oral mucosa remains an understudied barrier tissue. This is a site of rich exposure to antigens and commensals, and a tissue susceptible to one of the most prevalent human inflammatory diseases, periodontitis. To aid in understanding tissue-specific pathophysiology, we compile a single-cell transcriptome atlas of human oral mucosa in healthy individuals and patients with periodontitis. We uncover the complex cellular landscape of oral mucosal tissues and identify epithelial and stromal cell populations with inflammatory signatures that promote antimicrobial defenses and neutrophil recruitment. Our findings link exaggerated stromal cell responsiveness with enhanced neutrophil and leukocyte infiltration in periodontitis. Our work provides a resource characterizing the role of tissue stroma in regulating mucosal tissue homeostasis and disease pathogenesis.

Trial registration: NCT01568697.

Keywords: human oral mucosal single-cell atlas; mucosal immunity; oral atlas; oral mucosal immunity; periodontitis single-cell atlas; stromal -immune interaction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Gingiva / pathology
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Mucosal*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Microbiota
  • Mouth Mucosa / cytology*
  • Mouth Mucosa / immunology*
  • Myeloid Cells / cytology
  • Neutrophils / cytology*
  • Periodontitis / genetics
  • Periodontitis / immunology
  • Periodontitis / pathology
  • Single-Cell Analysis
  • Stromal Cells / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology

Associated data