Oral Oral Porphyromonas gingivalis infection affects intestinal microbiota and promotes atherosclerosis (2023, mice)

Michael Harrop

Active member
Jul 6, 2023



The link between periodontitis and intestinal dysbiosis, two factors that contribute to atherosclerosis, has not been clearly defined. We investigated the integrative effects of oral infection with Porphyromonas gingivalis (PG), the major pathogen for periodontitis, on intestinal microbiota and atherosclerosis.

Materials and Methods​

ApoE−/− mice were fed a normal chow diet (NC), a Western diet (WD) or a WD with oral PG infection (PG). The PG infection was investigated by placing a total of 109 CFUs of live PG into the oral cavity of each mouse using a feeding needle five times a week for 3 weeks. Atherosclerotic lesions of the aortae were measured, and blood lipoproteins and the expression of molecules related to lipid metabolism in the liver were analysed. We also performed 16S RNA sequencing and a microbiome analysis using faeces.


En face bloc preparation of the aortae showed that the PG group had a 1.7-fold increase in atherosclerotic lesions compared with the WD group (p < .01). Serum analyses showed that oral PG infection induced a significant decrease in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and triglyceride. Western blots of hepatic tissue lysates revealed that PG infection reduced the expression of scavenger receptor class B type 1 (SR-B1) in the liver by 50%. Faecal microbiota analysis revealed that species richness estimates (Chao1, ACE) decreased immediately after PG infection. PG infection also induced a significant decrease in Shannon diversity and an increase in Simpson's indices in the WD-fed mice. PG infection significantly increased the phyla Actinobacteria and Deferribacteres, along with the species Mucispirillum schaedleri and Lactobacillus gasseri, in the mice. The functional study showed that PG infection increased the expression of proteins that function in carbohydrate and glucose metabolism, including phosphotransferase system (PTS) proteins and the GntR family transcriptional regulator.


Oral PG infection promotes atherosclerosis and induces significant metabolic changes, including reduced serum HDL and reduced hepatic SR-B1 and ABCA1 expression, as well as changes in intestinal microbiota. Our study suggests that intestinal dysbiosis accompanies periodontitis and could play a role in atherosclerosis.
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