Keratinocyte-specific ablation of protease-activated receptor 2 prevents gingival inflammation and bone loss in a mouse model of periodontal disease

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Abstract

Chronic periodontitis is characterised by gingival inflammation and alveolar bone loss. A major aetiological agent is Porphyromonas gingivalis, which secretes proteases that activate protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2). PAR2 expressed on oral keratinocytes is activated by proteases released by P. gingivalis, inducing secretion of interleukin 6 (IL-6), and global knockout of PAR2 prevents bone loss and inflammation in a periodontal disease model in mice. To test the hypothesis that PAR2 expressed on gingival keratinocytes is required for periodontal disease pathology, keratinocyte-specific PAR2-null mice were generated using K14-Cre targeted deletion of the PAR2 gene (F2rl1). These mice were subjected to a model of periodontitis involving placement of a ligature around a tooth, combined with P. gingivalis infection (“Lig + Inf”). The intervention caused a significant 44% decrease in alveolar bone volume (assessed by microcomputed tomography) in wildtype (K14-Cre:F2rl1wt/wt), but not littermate keratinocyte-specific PAR2-null (K14-Cre:F2rl1fl/fl) mice. Keratinocyte-specific ablation of PAR2 prevented the significant Lig + Inf-induced increase (2.8-fold) in the number of osteoclasts in alveolar bone and the significant up-regulation (2.4–4-fold) of the inflammatory markers IL-6, IL-1β, interferon-γ, myeloperoxidase, and CD11b in gingival tissue. These data suggest that PAR2 expressed on oral epithelial cells is a critical regulator of periodontitis-induced bone loss and will help in designing novel therapies with which to treat the disease.

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