Stiftung Tierärztliche Hochschule Hannover (TiHo)

Neutrophils exhibit an individual response to different oral bacterial biofilms

Oral innate immunity is led by neutrophils. It is still unclear how their main antimicrobial mechanisms against different biofilms may contribute to balance or dysregulation in the oral cavity. We investigated the capacity of commensal (Streptococcus oralis) and pathogenic (Porphyromonas gingivalis or Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans) monospecies biofilms to induce or to inhibit selected antimicrobial mechanisms of neutrophils. S. oralis induced neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) formation, reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, and matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) 8 and 9 secretion. However, these responses were partially reduced in PMA-activated neutrophils indicating a balance-like neutrophil response, which might be important for the maintenance of oral health. P. gingivalis generally induced ROS. Reduced NET formation and significantly decreased MMP secretion were detectable in activated neutrophils highlighting P. gingivalis' nucleolytic and proteolytic activity, which might support bacterial colonization and pathogenesis of periodontitis. In contrast, A. actinomycetemcomitans did not affect the levels of antimicrobial factors in activated neutrophils and induced NET formation, ROS production, and secretion of MMP-8 and -9 in neutrophils alone, which might contribute to tissue destruction and disease progression. In summary, neutrophil responses to biofilms were species-specific and might support either maintenance of oral health or pathogenesis of periodontitis depending on the species.

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