Chronic exposure of gingival fibroblasts to TLR2 or TLR4 agonist inhibits osteoclastogenesis but does not affect osteogenesis

G.D. Karlis, E. Schöningh, I.D.C. Jansen, T. Schoenmaker, J.M.A. Hogervorst, H.A. van Veen, C.G.J. Moonen, K.B. Łagosz-Ćwik, T. Forouzanfar, T.J. de Vries

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Chronic exposure to periodontopathogenic bacteria such as Porphyromonas gingivalis and the products of these bacteria that interact with the cells of the tooth surrounding tissues can ultimately result in periodontitis. This is a disease that is characterized by inflammation-related alveolar bone degradation by the bone-resorbing cells, the osteoclasts. Interactions of bacterial products with Toll-like receptors (TLRs), in particular TLR2 and TLR4, play a significant role in this chronic inflammatory reaction, which possibly affects osteoclastic activity and osteogenic capacity. Little is known about how chronic exposure to specific TLR activators affects these two antagonistic activities. Here, we studied the effect of TLR activation on gingival fibroblasts (GF), cells that are anatomically close to infiltrating bacterial products in the mouth. These were co-cultured with naive osteoclast precursor cells (i.e., monocytes), as part of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Activation of GF co-cultures (GF + PBMCs) with TLR2 or TLR4 agonists resulted in a weak reduction of the osteoclastogenic potential of these cultures, predominantly due to TLR2. Interestingly, chronic exposure, especially to TLR2 agonist, resulted in increased release of TNF-α at early time points. This effect, was reversed at later time points, thus suggesting an adaptation to chronic exposure. Monocyte cultures primed with M-CSF + RANKL, led to the formation of bone-resorbing osteoclasts, irrespective of being activated with TLR agonists. Late activation of these co-cultures with TLR2 and with TLR4 agonists led to a slight decrease in bone resorption. Activation of GF with TLR2 and TLR4 agonists did not affect the osteogenic capacity of the GF cells. In conclusion, chronic exposure leads to diverse reactions; inhibitory with naive osteoclast precursors, not effecting already formed (pre-)osteoclasts. We suggest that early encounter of naive monocytes with TLR agonists may result in differentiation toward the macrophage lineage, desirable for clearing bacterial products. Once (pre-)osteoclasts are formed, these cells may be relatively insensitive for direct TLR stimulation. Possibly, TLR activation of periodontal cells indirectly stimulates osteoclasts, by secreting osteoclastogenesis stimulating inflammatory cytokines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1693
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jul 2020


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