Pathogenesis of periodontitis: A major arginine-specific cysteine proteinase from Porphyromonas gingivalis induces vascular permeability enhancement through activation of the kallikrein/kinin pathway

Takahisa Imamura, Robert N. Pike, Jan Potempa, James Travis

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To elucidate the mechanism of production of an inflammatory exudate, gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), from periodontal pockets in periodontitis, we examined the vascular permeability enhancement (VPE) activity induced by an arginine-specific cysteine proteinase, Arg-gingipain-1 (RGP-1), produced by a major periopathogenic bacterium, Porphyromonas gingivalis. Intradermal injections into guinea pigs of RGP-1 (> 10-8 M), or human plasma incubated with RGP-1 (> 10-9 M), induced VPE in a dose- and activity-dependent manner but with different time courses for the two routes of production. VPE activity induced by RGP-1 was augmented by kininase inhibitors, inhibited by a kallikrein inhibitor and unaffected by an antihistamine drug. The VPE activity in human plasma incubated with RGP-1 also correlated closely with generation of bradykinin (BK). RGP-1 induced 30-40% less VPE activity in Hageman factor-deficient plasma and no VPE in plasma deficient in either prekallikrein (PK) or high molecular weight kininogen (HMWK). After incubation with RGP-1, plasma deficient in PK or HMWK, reconstituted with each missing protein, caused VPE, as did a mixture of purified PK and HMWK, but RGP-1 induced no VPE from HMWK. The VPE of extracts of clinically isolated P. gingivalis were reduced to about 10% by anti-RGP-1-IgG, leupeptin, or tosyl-L-lysine chloromethyl ketone, which paralleled effects observed with RGP-1. These results indicate that RGP-1 is the major VPE factor of P. gingivalis, inducing this activity through PK activation and subsequent BK release, resulting in GCF production at sites of periodontitis caused by infection with this organism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • bacteria
  • bradykinin
  • gingival crevicular fluid
  • high molecular weight kininogen
  • prekallikrein

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