Establishment of an oral infection model resembling the periodontal pocket in a perfusion bioreactor system.

PMID 25587671


Periodontal infection involves a complex interplay between oral biofilms, gingival tissues and cells of the immune system in a dynamic microenvironment. A humanized in vitro model that reduces the need for experimental animal models, while recapitulating key biological events in a periodontal pocket, would constitute a technical advancement in the study of periodontal disease. The aim of this study was to use a dynamic perfusion bioreactor in order to develop a gingival epithelial-fibroblast-monocyte organotypic co-culture on collagen sponges. An 11 species subgingival biofilm was used to challenge the generated tissue in the bioreactor for a period of 24 h. The histological and scanning electron microscopy analysis displayed an epithelial-like layer on the surface of the collagen sponge, supported by the underlying ingrowth of gingival fibroblasts, while monocytic cells were also found within the sponge mass. Bacterial quantification of the biofilm showed that in the presence of the organotypic tissue, the growth of selected biofilm species, especially Campylobacter rectus, Actinomyces oris, Streptococcus anginosus, Veillonella dispar, and Porphyromonas gingivalis, was suppressed, indicating a potential antimicrobial effect by the tissue. Multiplex immunoassay analysis of cytokine secretion showed that interleukin (IL)-1 β, IL-2, IL-4, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α levels in cell culture supernatants were significantly up-regulated in presence of the biofilm, indicating a positive inflammatory response of the organotypic tissue to the biofilm challenge. In conclusion, this novel host-biofilm interaction organotypic model might resemble the periodontal pocket and have an important impact on the study of periodontal infections, by minimizing the need for the use of experimental animal models.