Phagocytosis of virulent Porphyromonas gingivalis by human polymorphonuclear leukocytes requires specific immunoglobulin G

C. W. Cutler, J. R. Kalmar, R. R. Arnold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


No studies to date clearly define the interactions between Porphyromonas gingivalis and human peripheral blood polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMN), nor has a protective role for antibody to P. gingivalis been defined. Using a fluorochrome phagocytosis microassay, we investigated PMN phagocytosis and killing of P. gingivalis as a function of P. gingivalis-specific antibody. Sera from a nonimmune rabbit and a healthy human subject were not opsonic for virulent P. gingivalis A7436, W83, and HG405; phagocytosis of these strains (but not 33277) required opsonization with hyperimmune antiserum (RaPg). Diluting RaPg with a constant complement source decreased proportionally the number of P. gingivalis A7436 cells phagocytosed per phagocytic PMN. Enriching for the immunoglobulin G fraction of RaPg A7436 enriched for opsonic activity toward A7436. An opsonic evaluation of 18 serum samples from adult periodontitis patients revealed that only 3 adult periodontitis sera of 17 with elevated immunoglobulin G to P. gingivalis A7436 were opsonic for A7436 and, moreover, that the serum sample with the highest enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay titer was most opsonic (patient 1). However, the opsonic activity of serum from patient 1 was qualitatively and not just quantitatively different from that of the nonopsonic human sera (but was a less effective opsonin than RaPg). Strain variability was observed in resistance of P. gingivalis to phagocytosis, and opsonization was strain specific for some, but not all, strains tested. An evaluation of killing of A7436 revealed that serum killing and extracellular killing of P. gingivalis were less effective alone when compared with intracellular PMN killing alone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2097-2104
Number of pages8
JournalInfection and Immunity
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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