Outer membrane vesicles derived from Porphyromonas gingivalis induced cell death with disruption of tight junctions in human lung epithelial cells

Yuhan He, Noriko Shiotsu, Yoko Uchida-Fukuhara, Jiajie Guo, Yao Weng, Mika Ikegame, Ziyi Wang, Kisho Ono, Hiroshi Kamioka, Yasuhiro Torii, Akira Sasaki, Kaya Yoshida, Hirohiko Okamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) is a major bacterium responsible for the progression of periodontitis. P. gingivalis produces small vesicles called outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) containing virulence factors. Increasing evidence suggests a close relationship between periodontitis and respiratory system diseases, such as aspiration pneumonia. However, little is known about whether P. gingivalis OMVs give rise to the impediment of lung epithelial cells. We investigated the effect of the OMVs on cell viability and tight junctions of lung epithelial cells. Design: Human lung epithelial A549 cells were treated with P. gingivalis OMVs. Cell viability was evaluated, and cell morphology was examined using scanning electron and phase contrast microscopies. To detect apoptosis induced by P. gingivalis OMVs, activation of caspase-3 and poly ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP) cleavage was examined by using Western blotting. Immunocytochemistry was performed to stain tight junction proteins. Results: P. gingivalis OMVs decreased cell viability in A549 cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Microscopic analysis revealed that the OMVs induced morphological changes leading to irregular cell membrane structures. The OMVs caused cell shrinkage, membrane blebbing, and cytoplasmic expulsion in a dose-dependent manner. Western blot analysis showed the OMVs induced caspase-3 activation and PARP cleavage. Treatment with the OMVs disrupted the intact distributions of tight junction proteins. Conclusions: These results indicate that P. gingivalis OMVs induced cell death by destroying the barrier system in lung epithelial cells. Our present study raises the possibility that P. gingivalis OMVs is an important factor in the engagement of periodontitis with respiratory system diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104841
JournalArchives of Oral Biology
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Apoptosis
  • Outer membrane vesicles
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis
  • Tight junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Cell Biology


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