Commensal gut bacterium critically regulates alveolar bone homeostasis

Lab Invest. 2022 Apr;102(4):363-375. doi: 10.1038/s41374-021-00697-0. Epub 2021 Dec 21.


The alveolar bone is a unique osseous tissue due to the presence of the teeth and the proximity of commensal oral microbes. Commensal microbe effects on alveolar bone homeostasis have been attributed to the oral microbiota, yet the impact of commensal gut microbes is unknown. Study purpose was to elucidate whether commensal gut microbes regulate osteoimmune mechanisms and skeletal homeostasis in alveolar bone. Male C57BL/6T germfree (GF) littermate mice were maintained as GF or monoassociated with segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB), a commensal gut bacterium. SFB has been shown to elicit broad immune response effects, including the induction of TH17/IL17A immunity, which impacts the development and homeostasis of host tissues. SFB colonized the gut, but not oral cavity, and increased IL17A levels in the ileum and serum. SFB had catabolic effects on alveolar bone and non-oral skeletal sites, which was attributed to enhanced osteoclastogenesis. The alveolar bone marrow of SFB vs. GF mice had increased dendritic cells, activated helper T-cells, TH1 cells, TH17 cells, and upregulated Tnf. Primary osteoblast cultures from SFB and GF mice were stimulated with vehicle-control, IL17A, or TNF to elucidate osteoblast-derived signaling factors contributing to the pro-osteoclastic phenotype in SFB mice. Treatment of RAW264.7 osteoclastic cells with supernatants from vehicle-stimulated SFB vs. GF osteoblasts recapitulated the osteoclast phenotype found in vivo. Supernatants from TNF-stimulated osteoblasts normalized RAW264.7 osteoclast endpoints across SFB and GF cultures, which was dependent on the induction of CXCL1 and CCL2. This report reveals that commensal gut microbes have the capacity to regulate osteoimmune processes in alveolar bone. Outcomes from this investigation challenge the current paradigm that alveolar bone health and homeostasis is strictly regulated by oral microbes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria
  • Bone and Bones*
  • Homeostasis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Osteoclasts* / metabolism
  • Th17 Cells