Gingipain R1 and Lipopolysaccharide From Porphyromonas gingivalis Have Major Effects on Blood Clot Morphology and Mechanics

J. Massimo Nunes, Tristan Fillis, Martin J. Page, Chantelle Venter, Ophélie Lancry, Douglas B. Kell*, Ursula Windberger*, Etheresia Pretorius*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Background: Porphyromonas gingivalis and its inflammagens are associated with a number of systemic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes (T2DM). The proteases, gingipains, have also recently been identified in the brains of Alzheimer's disease patients and in the blood of Parkinson's disease patients. Bacterial inflammagens, including lipopolysaccharides (LPSs) and various proteases in circulation, may drive systemic inflammation. Methods: Here, we investigate the effects of the bacterial products LPS from Escherichia coli and Porphyromonas gingivalis, and also the P. gingivalis gingipain [recombinant P. gingivalis gingipain R1 (RgpA)], on clot architecture and clot formation in whole blood and plasma from healthy individuals, as well as in purified fibrinogen models. Structural analysis of clots was performed using confocal microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and AFM-Raman imaging. We use thromboelastography® (TEG®) and rheometry to compare the static and dynamic mechanical properties of clots. Results: We found that these inflammagens may interact with fibrin(ogen) and this interaction causes anomalous blood clotting. Conclusions: These techniques, in combination, provide insight into the effects of these bacterial products on cardiovascular health, and particularly clot structure and mechanics.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1551
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • confocal
  • Gingipain R1
  • lipopolysaccharide
  • Porphyromonas gingivalis
  • Raman
  • rheometry
  • scanning electron microscopy
  • thromboelastography

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