Streptococcus cristatus attenuates Fusobacterium nucleatum-induced interleukin-8 expression in oral epithelial cells

G. Zhang, R. Chen, J. D. Rudney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Background and Objective: Oral epithelial cells may be invaded by a polymicrobial intracellular flora, including pathogens together with commensals. Various oral pathogens can induce the production of interleukin-8, a potent neutrophil chemotractant, in oral epithelial cells. Evidence from the gut suggests that commensal species may modulate inflammatory responses to pathogens. The aim of this study was to examine the interleukin-8 responses of oral epithelial cells to an oral pro-inflammatory species, Fusobacterium nucleatum, in combination with an oral commensal, Streptococcus cristatus. Material and methods: KB, TERT-2, TR146 and SCC15 cells were cocultured with F. nucleatum and S. cristatus, either alone or in combination, at 37°C in 5% CO2 under various conditions. The mRNA expression of interleukin-8 was analyzed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and protein secretion was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: F. nucleatum alone evoked a potent interleukin-8 response, whereas S. cristatus alone did not induce significant interleukin-8 expression in oral epithelial cells. When present together, S. cristatus attenuated the F. nucleatum-induced interleukin-8 production in the four oral epithelial cell lines to varying degrees. The inhibitory effect of S. cristatus was independent of its viability and its co-aggregation with F. nucleatum, was not related to soluble bacterial products and appeared to require bacterial contact with epithelial cells. Similar effects were seen with several other species of oral streptococci. Conclusion: Our data suggest that S. cristatus may exert immunomodulatory effects on the interleukin-8 response of oral epithelial cells to F. nucleatum challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-416
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Periodontal Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Cytokines
  • Epithelial cells
  • Fusobacterium nucleatum
  • Inflammatory response
  • Streptococcus cristatus


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