Background: Alveolar bone destruction is a characteristic feature of periodontal diseases and multinucleated osteoclast cells derived from hemopoietic cells are responsible for bone resorption. Treponema lecithinolyticum is a novel oral spirochete isolated from the periodontal lesions. Methods: The effect of whole cell sonicates on the osteoclast differentiation was examined in a co-culture system of hemopoietic mouse bone marrow cells and calvaria derived-osteoblastic cells to clarify the role of T. lecithinolyticum in the alveolar bone destruction associated with periodontal diseases. The differentiated osteoclasts were confirmed by tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase (TRAP) staining. Results: Sonicates of this bacterium stimulated the osteoclast formation in the co-culture system in a dose-dependent manner. The sonicates-induced osteoclast formation was partially inhibited by the heat treatment of sonicates. Indomethacin, which is a prostaglandin inhibitor, decreased the osteoclast formation induced by the bacterial sonicates. Conclusions: These findings suggest that T. lecithinolyticum induces osteoclast differentiation by a prostaglandin E2-dependent mechanism and that heat-labile components may be involved in this process.
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