Homeostasis of healthy periodontal tissues is affected by innate and adaptive immunosurveillance mechanisms in response to the normal oral flora. Recent comparisons of germ-free (GF) and normal specific-pathogen-free (SPF) mice have revealed the impact of host immunosurveillance mechanisms in response to the normal oral flora on alveolar bone height. Prior reports that alveolar bone height is significantly less in normal SPF mice compared with their age- and strain-matched GF counterparts suggest that naturally occurring alveolar bone loss is a normal component of healthy periodontal tissue homeostasis. In this report, histomorphometric analyses confirmed increased alveolar bone loss and revealed increased numbers of TRAP+ osteoclastic cells lining the alveolar bone surface in SPF compared with GF mice. Increased numbers of RANKL+ cells and IL17+ cells in the periodontium of SPF mice demonstrate possible molecular mechanisms mediating the up-regulated osteoclastogenesis and alveolar bone loss in SPF mice compared with GF mice. Increased numbers of T-lymphocytic cells and T-helper cells in the junctional epithelium of SPF mice compared with GF mice suggest that the adaptive immune response contributes to physiologic alveolar bone loss in the healthy periodontium. This GF animal model study notably begins to elucidate the impact of host immunosurveillance mechanisms in response to the normal oral flora, mediating catabolic alveolar bone homeostasis in the healthy periodontium.
- RANKL protein
- helper T-cells
- osteoclastic bone loss
- tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase
ASJC Scopus subject areas