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Importance of Virulence Factors for the Persistence of Oral Bacteria in the Inflamed Gingival Crevice and in the Pathogenesis of Periodontal Disease

Journal article
Authors Gunnar Dahlén
Amina Basic
Johan Bylund
Published in Journal of Clinical Medicine
Volume 8
Issue 9
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Odontology, Section 3
Language en
Keywords periodontal disease, host response, infection, inflammation, oral microbiota, virulence factors, porphyromonas-gingivalis, epithelial-cells, actinobacillus-actinomycetemcomitans, capsular serotypes, peri-implantitis, degradation, microbiome, progression, mechanisms, leukotoxin, General & Internal Medicine
Subject categories Dentistry


Periodontitis is a chronic inflammation that develops due to a destructive tissue response to prolonged inflammation and a disturbed homeostasis (dysbiosis) in the interplay between the microorganisms of the dental biofilm and the host. The infectious nature of the microbes associated with periodontitis is unclear, as is the role of specific bacterial species and virulence factors that interfere with the host defense and tissue repair. This review highlights the impact of classical virulence factors, such as exotoxins, endotoxins, fimbriae and capsule, but also aims to emphasize the often-neglected cascade of metabolic products (e.g., those generated by anaerobic and proteolytic metabolism) that are produced by the bacterial phenotypes that survive and thrive in deep, inflamed periodontal pockets. This metabolic activity of the microbes aggravates the inflammatory response from a low-grade physiologic (homeostatic) inflammation (i.e., gingivitis) into more destructive or tissue remodeling processes in periodontitis. That bacteria associated with periodontitis are linked with a number of systemic diseases of importance in clinical medicine is highlighted and exemplified with rheumatoid arthritis, The unclear significance of a number of potential virulence factors that contribute to the pathogenicity of specific bacterial species in the complex biofilm-host interaction clinically is discussed in this review.

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