Boston University School of Dental Medicine Researchers Shed Light on Key Step in Periodontal Disease Onset

Contact: Jackie Rubin, 617/638-4892 |

BOSTON — In a paper published in the June issue of the Journal of Proteome Research, Boston University School of Dental Medicine Associate Dean for Research Dr. Salomon Amar and researchers show white blood cells known as monocytes interact differently with P. gingivalis, the tissue-damaging oral bacterium that causes periodontal disease, and two inflammation-causing proteins attached to the bacterium:
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and Fimbriae (FimA).

The Boston University researchers used expressions proteomics, which tracks changes in the cells’ protein outputs, to explain how monocytes interact differently with the whole bacterium and its parts.

The monocytes showed 12 differential expressions, or modifications, after exposure to P. gingivalis, 11 differential expressions from LPS, and nine from FimA.

The findings suggest that whether monocytes interact with P. gingivalis, LPS, or FimA determines which type of periodontitis (acute or chronic) results.

The ability to map what is triggering the monocytes’ response will lead to better treatment options for periodontal disease in the future.

The paper, “Proteomic Mapping of Stimulus-Specific Signaling Pathways Involved in THP-1 Cells Exposed to Porphyromonas gingivalis or Its Purified Components,” by Julian A. Saba, Mark E. McComb, Donna L. Potts, Catherine E. Costello, and Salomon Amar, is available online at

The mission of Boston University School of Dental Medicine is to provide excellent education to dental professionals throughout their careers; to shape the future of dental medicine and dental education through research; to offer excellent health care services to the community; to participate in community activities; and to foster a respectful and supportive environment.