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Summary

Porphyromonas gingivalis is a major pathogen in the initiation and progression of periodontal disease, which is recognized as a common complication of diabetes. ICAM-1 expression by human gingival fibroblasts (HGFs) is crucial for regulating local inflammatory responses in inflamed periodontal tissues. However, the effect of P. gingivalis in a high-glucose situation in regulating HGF function is not understood. The P. gingivalis strain CCUG25226 was used to study the mechanisms underlying the modulation of HGF ICAM-1 expression by invasion of high-glucose-treated P. gingivalis (HGPg). A high-glucose condition upregulated fimA mRNA expression in P. gingivalis and increased its invasion ability in HGFs. HGF invasion with HGPg induced increases in the expression of ICAM-1. By using specific inhibitors and short hairpin RNA (shRNA), we have demonstrated that the activation of p38 MAPK and Akt pathways is critical for HGPg-induced ICAM-1 expression. Luciferase reporters and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays suggest that HGPg invasion increases NF-κB- and Sp1-DNA-binding activities in HGFs. Inhibition of NF-κB and Sp1 activations blocked the HGPg-induced ICAM-1 promoter activity and expression. The effect of HGPg on HGF signalling and ICAM-1 expression is mediated by CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4). Our findings identify the molecular pathways underlying HGPg-dependent ICAM-1 expression in HGFs, providing insight into the effect of P. gingivalis invasion in HGFs.