Osteoprotegerin protects endothelial cells against apoptotic cell death induced by Porphyromonas gingivalis cysteine proteinases

Michiyo Kobayashi-Sakamoto, Kimiharu Hirose, Makoto Nishikata, Emiko Isogai, Itsuo Chiba

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    20 Citations (Scopus)


    Osteoprotegerin (OPG) is a key regulator of osteoclastogenesis during the progression of periodontitis. Recent reports suggest that osteoprotegerin may also prevent arterial calcification and contribute to endothelial cell survival. To determine whether the vascular functions of osteoprotegerin are involved in periodontitis, we examined whether osteoprotegerin contributed to the survival of endothelial cells damaged by Porphyromonas gingivalis cysteine proteinases (gingipains). Gingipain proteinases cleave a broad range of host proteins, and are important virulence factors of P. gingivalis, a major causative bacterium of adult periodontitis. Human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) were exposed to activated gingipain extracts from P. gingivalis 381, with and without pretreatment with osteoprotegerin. Cell viability was quantified by the tetrazolium (WST-8) reduction assay, and apoptosis was examined using Hoechst 33342 nuclear staining. After 16 h of treatment with activated gingipain extracts, HMVEC showed near-complete detachment from the tissue culture dish, and apoptosis was evident by 24 h. Pretreatment of HMVEC with osteoprotegerin reduced the extent of both cellular detachment and apoptotic cell death. Our results indicated that osteoprotegerin pretreatment protected HMVEC against detachment and apoptotic cell death induced by gingipain-active bacterial cell extracts. These results also suggest that osteoprotegerin may function as a survival factor for endothelial cells during periodontitis.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)238-245
    Number of pages8
    JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2006 Nov


    • Apoptosis
    • Endothelial cells
    • Gingipains
    • Osteoprotegerin
    • Porphyromonas gingivalis

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Microbiology
    • Molecular Biology
    • Genetics


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