Multi-species oral biofilm promotes reconstructed human gingiva epithelial barrier function

L. Shang, D. Deng, J.K. Buskermolen, M.M. Janus, B.P. Krom, S. Roffel, T. Waaijman, C. van Loveren, W. Crielaard, S. Gibbs

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Since the oral mucosa is continuously exposed to abundant microbes, one of its most important defense features is a highly proliferative, thick, stratified epithelium. The cellular mechanisms responsible for this are still unknown. The aim of this study was to determine whether multi-species oral biofilm contribute to the extensive stratification and primed antimicrobial defense in epithelium. Two in vitro models were used: 3D reconstructed human gingiva (RHG) and oral bacteria representative of multi-species commensal biofilm. The organotypic RHG consists of a reconstructed stratified gingiva epithelium on a gingiva fibroblast populated hydrogel (lamina propria). Biofilm was cultured from healthy human saliva, and consists of typical commensal genera Granulicatella and major oral microbiota genera Veillonella and Streptococcus. Biofilm was applied topically to RHG and host–microbiome interactions were studied over 7 days. Compared to unexposed RHG, biofilm exposed RHG showed increased epithelial thickness, more organized stratification and increased keratinocyte proliferation. Furthermore biofilm exposure increased production of RHG anti-microbial proteins Elafin, HBD2 and HBD3 but not HBD1, adrenomedullin or cathelicidin LL-37. Inflammatory and antimicrobial cytokine secretion (IL-6, CXCL8, CXCL1, CCL20) showed an immediate and sustained increase. In conclusion, exposure of RHG to commensal oral biofilm actively contributes to RHG epithelial barrier function.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16061
Number of pages12
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2018

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