Fusobacterium nucleatum and its associated systemic diseases: epidemiologic studies and possible mechanisms

J Oral Microbiol. 2022 Nov 14;15(1):2145729. doi: 10.1080/20002297.2022.2145729. eCollection 2023.


Background: Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum) is an anaerobic oral commensal and the major coaggregation bridge organism linking early and late colonisers. In recent years, a large number of studies suggest that F. nucleatum is closely related to the development of various systemic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, adverse pregnancy outcomes, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, respiratory infection, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.

Objective: To review the effect of F. nucleatum on systemic diseases and its possible pathogenesis and to open new avenues for prevention and treatment of F. nucleatum-associated systemic diseases.

Design: The research included every article published up to July 2022 featuring the keywords 'Systemic diseases' OR 'Atherosclerotic cardiovascular diseases' OR 'Atherosclerosis' OR 'Adverse pregnancy outcomes' OR 'Inflammatory bowel disease' OR 'Ulcerative colitis' OR 'Crohn's disease' OR 'Cancers' OR 'Oral squamous cell carcinomas' OR 'Gastrointestinal cancers' OR 'Colorectal cancer' OR 'Breast cancer' OR 'Genitourinary cancers' OR 'Alzheimer's disease ' OR 'Rheumatoid arthritis' OR 'Respiratory diseases' AND 'Fusobacterium nucleatum' OR 'Periodontal pathogen' OR 'Oral microbiota' OR 'Porphyromonas gingivalis' and was conducted in the major medical databases.

Results: F. nucleatum can induce immune response and inflammation in the body through direct or indirect pathways, and thus affect the occurrence and development of systemic diseases. Only by continuing to investigate the pathogenic lifestyles of F. nucleatum will we discover the divergent pathways that may be leveraged for diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic purposes.

Keywords: FadA; Fusobacterium nucleatum; microbiome; periodontal disease; systemic diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [82201072], the project of cadre health of Jiangsu Commission of health [BJ19033] and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions [PAPD, 2018-87].