Can micro-organisms subvert our immune response???
The subgingival microbiota in periodontal pockets consists of Gram-negative assaccharolytic anaerobic bacteria which are capable of releasing multiple virulence factors. To cause disease, these bacteria must survive in the hostile inflammatory environment that contains an array of host-generated bactericidal molecules and innate immune effector cells. But, on the other hand, the products of inflammation (such as peptides and amino acids) act as a source of nutrient for these bacteria. Therefore, certain bacteria have been demonstrated to alter the immune response without completely suppressing the inflammatory response. These bacteria have been termed as “Keystone pathogens” 1. The bacteria cause subversion of the immune response and create an environment that is not only conducive to their own growth but also facilitates the growth of other pathogenic bacterial species. The most extensively studied bacteria to explain immune-subversion is P. gingivalis. It has been demonstrated that the introduction of a relatively minor component of the biofilm by keystone pathogens can change the host-biofilm relationship from symbiotic (associated with health), to dysbiotic associated with disease) 2.
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