Little is known regarding the molecules expressed by gingival epithelial cells that are involved in initiating and maintaining inflammation following the interaction with periodontal pathogens. Thus, we investigated the effect of Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans and Porphyromonas gingivalis infection on the expression of neutrophil chemoattractant interleukin 8 (IL-8) and the adhesion molecule intercellular adhesion molecule-1 by gingival epithelial cells. The data revealed that both IL-8 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression increased after infection with A. actinomycetemcomitans (IL-8: 2- to 7-fold; intercellular adhesion molecule-1: 2.5- to 3.7-fold). IL-8 secretion reached a maximal level 6 h after the infection and the expression subsequently decreased to basal level. The increased cell surface intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression started at 4 h after infection and reached a maximal level 14 h after the infection. In contrast, the expression of both molecules rapidly decreased 2 h after challenge with P. gingivalis. This opposite influence of A. actinomycetemcomitans and P. gingivalis infection on the expression of IL-8 and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 by gingival epithelial cells suggests that A. actinomycetemcomitans infection may initiate the recruitment of neutrophils, whereas the P. gingivalis infection may retard this process and therefore demonstrate a distinct perspective of virulence.