CX3CR1hi Monocyte/Macrophages Support Bacterial Survival and Experimental Infection–Driven Bone Resorption

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Porphyromonas gingivalis, an anaerobic bacterium strongly linked to infection-driven inflammatory bone erosion, thrives within a highly inflamed milieu and disseminates to distant sites, such as atherosclerotic plaque. We examined the role of monocyte/macrophages in determining the outcome of infection with P. gingivalis. Surprisingly, transient monocyte/macrophage depletion led to greatly improved clearance of P. gingivalis. The chemokine receptors CCR2 and CX3CR1 play a major role in monocyte recruitment and differentiation to Ly6Chi vs CX3CR1hi subsets, respectively. To determine the contribution of particular monocyte/macrophage subsets to bacterial survival, we challenged chemokine receptor knockout mice and found that P. gingivalis clearance is significantly improved in the absence of CX3CR1. CX3CR1hi monocyte/macrophages promote P. gingivalis survival by downregulating neutrophil phagocytosis. Furthermore, CX3CR1 knockout mice resist bone resorption in the oral cavity following challenge with P. gingivalis. Our findings provide an explanation for bacterial coexistence alongside an activate neutrophil infiltrate.

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