Prior exposure of mice to Fusobacterium nucleatum modulates host response to Porphyromonas gingivalis

J. Choi, M. A. Borrello, E. Smith, Christopher W Cutler, H. Sojar, M. Zauderer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Multiple periodontal pathogens sequentially colonize the subgingival niche during the conversion from gingivitis to destructive periodontal disease. An animal model of sequential immunization with key periodontal pathogens has been developed to determine whether T- and B-lymphocyte effector functions are skewed and fail to protect the host from pathogenic challenge. The present study was performed to evaluate the immunomodulatory effect of exposure to Fusobacterium nucleatum prior to Porphyromonas gingivalis. Group 1 (control) mice were immunized with phosphate-buffered saline, group 2 were immunized with F. nucleatum prior to P. gingivalis and group 3 were immunized with P. gingivalis alone. All the T-cell clones derived from group 2 demonstrated type 2 helper T-cell done (Th2 subsets), whereas those from group 3 mice demonstrated Th1 subsets. Exposure of mice to F. nucleatum prior to P. gingivalis interfered with the opsonophagocytosis function of sera against P. gingivalis. In adoptive T-cell transfer experiments, in vivo protective capacity of type 2 helper T-cell clones (Th2) from group 2 was significantly lower than type 1 helper T-cell clones (Th1) from group 3 against the lethal dose infection of P. gingivalis. Western blot analysis indicated a different pattern of recognition of P. gingivalis fimbrial proteins between sera from group 2 and group 3. In conclusion, these studies suggest that exposure of a host to F. nucleatum prior to the periodontal pathogen P. gingivalis modulates the host immune responses to P. gingivalis at the humoral, cellular and molecular levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-344
Number of pages7
JournalOral Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Adoptive transfer
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum
  • Immune modulation
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis
  • T-cell clones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Microbiology (medical)


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