We examined the induction of inflammatory cytokines (including interleukin-1, interleukin-6, interleukin-8, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha) by several species of possible causative bacteria in periapical periodontitis. Assays were done on human whole blood cultures from patients with differing numbers of periapical lesions; those having radiographically clear periapical lesions in 10 or more teeth (high lesion group), in one or two teeth (low lesion group), and healthy volunteers having no periapical lesions (no lesion group). Prevotella melaninogenica ATCC 25845 induced interleukin-6 more strongly in subjects from the high lesion group than in the other groups. To ascertain the degree of sensitization by test bacteria, we examined the reactivities of antibodies in serum and saliva from the six subjects to different bacterial species. Porphylomonas gingivalis cells reacted strongly with sera from the high lesion group. Thus, Prevotella melaninogenica and Porphylomonas gingivalis may be involved in multilesional periapical periodontitis by inducing specific cytokines and/or humoral immune responses.
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