T-cell contributions to alveolar bone loss in response to oral infection with Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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see Reprint Collection

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Acta Odontol Scand 2001 Aug; 59(4):222-5.




We have previously shown that mice lacking CD4+, but not CD8+, T cells lose less alveolar bone loss in response to oral infection with Porphyromonas gingivalis than do immunocompetent mice of the same genetic background, indicating that CD4+ T cells contribute to bone resorption. The CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell knockouts were produced by targeted deletions of, respectively, major histocompatibility complex II (MHCII) or beta2-microglobulin (producing non-expression of MHCI). Because MHC deletions can have other effects in addition to those on T-cell selection, we wanted to confirm that the lessened bone loss was truly an effect of the lack of T cells. Consequently, we repeated our experiments with C57B1 /6J-Tcra mice that have a targeted deletion of the alpha chain of the T-cell receptor (Tcra). Six weeks after oral infection with P. gingivalis ATCC 53977 the total bone loss at buccal maxillary sites was 0.28 mm in infected immunocompetent mice (P=0.002 compared with sham-infected mice), whereas in Tcra knockouts the bone loss was only 0.08 mm (P=0.04 compared with shams). The T-cell-deficient mice thus lost 70% less bone after infection than did genetically matched immunocompetent mice (P =0.003). These experiments confirm that T cells, and their responses to oral infection with P. gingivalis, help to push bone remodeling in the direction of net loss of bone.

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