Backgrounds and Objective: Increased neutrophil infiltration and osteoclast formation are key characteristics of periodontitis. The effect of these neutrophils on osteoclast formation in periodontitis remains unclear. Therefore, we investigated the effects of neutrophils on osteoclast formation in a neutrophil-deficient mouse model of periodontitis. Methods: Anti-Ly6G antibody (Ab) was used for neutrophil depletion in two mouse models: periodontitis and air pouch. In the periodontitis experiments, mice were divided into PBS-administered control (C), control Ab-administered periodontitis (P), and anti-Ly6G Ab-administered periodontitis (P + Ly6G) groups. Periodontitis was induced by ligature of mandibular first molars. In the air pouch experiments, mice were divided into PBS-administered (C), LPS and control Ab-administered (LPS), and LPS and anti-Ly6G Ab-administered (LPS + Ly6G) groups. Neutrophil migration into air pouches was induced by LPS injection. Flow cytometry was used to examine CD11b+Ly6G+ neutrophils in the blood of periodontitis mice and CD11b+Ly6G+RANKL+ neutrophils in exudates of air pouch mice. In periodontal tissue, Ly6G+ neutrophil and RANKL+ cell numbers in periodontal ligament and alveolar bone areas were estimated using immunohistochemistry, osteoclast numbers were measured using TRAP assay, and alveolar bone loss was determined by H&E staining. Results: In blood, CD11b+Ly6G+ neutrophils were found in greater percentage in the P group than in the C group on days 3 and 7. However, the percentage of neutrophils was lower in the P + Ly6G group than in the C and P groups. In periodontal tissue, the numbers of Ly6G+ neutrophils and RANKL+ cells were lower in the P + Ly6G group than in the P group on day 3. Ly6G+ neutrophil numbers decreased more in the P + Ly6G group than in the P group on day 7, but RANKL+ cell numbers did not decrease in the P + Ly6G group. In exudates, the number of CD11b+Ly6G+RANKL+ neutrophils was greater in the LPS group than in the C and LPS + Ly6G groups. On days 3 and 7, the numbers of osteoclasts and alveolar bone loss were greater in periodontal tissue in the P and P + Ly6G groups than in the C group. Interestingly, there were fewer osteoclasts in the P + Ly6G group than in the P group on day 3. Conclusion: Neutrophil deficiency caused a reduction in numbers of both RANKL+ cells and osteoclasts in periodontitis-induced tissues only on day 3. Furthermore, in the LPS-injected air pouch model, neutrophil deficiency reduced the influx of RANKL+ neutrophils. These findings suggest that the presence of neutrophils induces RANKL expression and could induce osteoclast formation in the early stages of periodontitis.
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