Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans is a perio-pathogenic bacteria that has long been associated with localized aggressive periodontitis. The mechanisms of its pathogenicity have been studied in humans and preclinical experimental models. Although different serotypes of A. actinomycetemcomitans have differential virulence factor expression, A. actinomycetemcomitans cytolethal distending toxin (CDT), leukotoxin, and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) have been most extensively studied in the context of modulating the host immune response. Following colonization and attachment in the oral cavity, A. actinomycetemcomitans employs CDT, leukotoxin, and LPS to evade host innate defense mechanisms and drive a pathophysiologic inflammatory response. This supra-physiologic immune response state perturbs normal periodontal tissue remodeling/turnover and ultimately has catabolic effects on periodontal tissue homeostasis. In this review, we have divided the host response into two systems: non-hematopoietic and hematopoietic. Non-hematopoietic barriers include epithelium and fibroblasts that initiate the innate immune host response. The hematopoietic system contains lymphoid and myeloid-derived cell lineages that are responsible for expanding the immune response and driving the pathophysiologic inflammatory state in the local periodontal microenvironment. Effector systems and signaling transduction pathways activated and utilized in response to A. actinomycetemcomitans will be discussed to further delineate immune cell mechanisms during A. actinomycetemcomitans infection. Finally, we will discuss the osteo-immunomodulatory effects induced by A. actinomycetemcomitans and dissect the catabolic disruption of balanced osteoclast-osteoblast-mediated bone remodeling, which subsequently leads to net alveolar bone loss.
© 2015 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.