Objectives: Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by tooth-supporting tissue destruction, which is elicited by the host’s immune response triggered against periodonto-pathogen bacteria. During periodontal tissue destruction, extracellular matrix components are metabolized and fragmented. Some extracellular matrix component-derived fragments, such as low-molecular-weight hyaluronan (LMW-HA), have potent immunogenic potential, playing a role as damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) during activation of immune cells. Dendritic cells (DCs) play a central role in the host’s immune response displayed during periodontitis; thus, this study aimed to analyze whether LMW-HA has an immunostimulatory activity on DCs when stimulated with periodonto-pathogen bacteria. Materials and methods: LMW-HA-treated and non-treated DCs were stimulated with Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans or Porphyromonas gingivalis and the mRNA expression for cytokines tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-alpha), interleukin-1β (IL-1B), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and interleukin-23 (IL-23A) was quantified by RT-qPCR. In addition, transcription factors interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4), interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8), neurogenic locus notch homolog protein 2 (NOTCH2), and basic leucine zipper ATF-like transcription factor 3 (BATF3), involved in DC activation, were analyzed. Results: Higher expression levels of TNF-alpha, IL-1B, IL-6, and IL-23A were detected in LMW-HA-treated DCs after bacterial infection, as compared with non-treated DCs. When LMW-HA-treated DCs were infected with A. actinomycetemcomitans, higher levels of IRF4, NOTCH2, and BATF3 were detected compared with non-treated cells; whereas against P. gingivalis infection, increased levels of IRF4 and NOTCH2 were detected. Conclusion: LMW-HA plays an immunostimulatory role on the immune response triggered by DCs during infection with A. actinomycetemcomitans or P. gingivalis. Clinical relevance: Detection of extracellular matrix component-derived fragments produced during periodontal tissue destruction, such as LMW-HA, could explain at least partly unsuccessful periodontal treatment and the chronicity of the disease.
- Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans
- Dendritic cells
- Porphyromonas gingivalis
- Transcription factors