• hsp60;
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis GroEL ;
  • antibody;
  • cross reactivity;
  • periodontitis

The presence of antibodies to the 60-kD human and Porphyromonas gingivalis GroEL hsp60 in the sera and inflamed gingival tissues of periodontitis patients was examined. In order to obtain the antigens, recombinant plasmids carrying human hsp60 and P. gingivalis GroEL genes were constructed and expressed as histidine-tagged recombinant proteins. Immunoreactivities of these proteins were confirmed by MoAbs specific to mammalian hsp60 and cross-reactive with both mammalian and bacterial hsp60. Western blot analysis clearly demonstrated that the number of periodontitis patients showing a positive response to P. gingivalis GroEL was higher than the number of periodontally healthy subjects. Furthermore, anti-P. gingivalis GroEL antibody was detected in all samples of gingival tissue extracts. For human hsp60, a higher frequency of seropositivity was found in the periodontitis patients than in the healthy subjects. In addition, the periodontitis patients demonstrated stronger reactivity compared with the healthy subjects. Quantitative analysis of serum antibodies by ELISA also demonstrated that the levels of antibodies in the sera of patients were significantly higher than those of control subjects. In the gingival tissue extracts, seven out of 10 patients demonstrated a positive response to human hsp60 and tso of these demonstrated strong positivity. Affinity-purified serum antibodies to human hsp60 and P. gingivalis GroEL from selected patients reacted with P. gingivalis GroEL and human hsp60, respectively, suggesting cross-reactivity of antibodies. These results suggest that molecular mimicry between GroEL of the periodontopathic bacterium P. gingivalis and autologous human hsp60 may play some role in immune mechanisms in periodontitis.