• Porphyromonas gingivalis;
  • heat shock protein;
  • periodontitis;
  • atherosclerosis;
  • trigger molecule

Choi J, Lee S-Y, Kim K, Choi B-K. Identification of immunoreactive epitope of Porphyromonas gingivalis heat shock protein peptide in periodontitis and atherosclerosis. J Periodont Res 2011; 46: 240–245. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S

Background and Objective:  Heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) of Porphyromonas gingivalis, a major periodontal pathogen, might be a trigger molecule linking infectious periodontitis and autoimmune atherosclerosis. The aim of this study was to identify the peptide specificity of anti-P. gingivalis HSP60 monoclonal antibodies and their cross-reactivity with bacterial and human HSPs. Their specific immunoreactivity to periodontal or atherosclerotic lesions was also investigated.

Methods:  Twenty patients with chronic periodontitis and 20 atherosclerosis patients who had undergone surgical intervention for atheromatous plaques with evidence of ongoing periodontal disease, were selected. Synthetic peptide 19 ((TLVVNRLRGSLKICAVKAPG)-specific T-cell lines were established from inflamed gingiva and atheromatous plaque and the phenotypes and cytokine profiles were characterized.

Results:  Thirty per cent of periodontitis patients and 100% of atherosclerosis patients reacted positively to cross-reactive peptide 19 from both P. gingivalis and human HSP60. The peptide 19-specific T-cell lines demonstrated the phenotype characteristic of helper T cells (CD4+) but did not express CD25 or FOXP3. The interleukin-10 levels were elevated significantly in the peptide 19 T-cell line.

Conclusion:  Synthetic peptide 19 of P. gingivalis HSP60 is an immunoreactive epitope in the periodontitis–atherosclerosis axis.