Gingival epithelial barrier: regulation by beneficial and harmful microbes

Naoki Takahashi, Benso Sulijaya, Miki Yamada-Hara, Takahiro Tsuzuno, Koichi Tabeta, Kazuhisa Yamazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


The gingival epithelium acts as a physical barrier to separate the biofilm from the gingival tissue, providing the first line of defense against bacterial invasion in periodontal disease. Disruption of the gingival epithelial barrier, and the subsequent penetration of exogenous pathogens into the host tissues, triggers an inflammatory response, establishing chronic infection. Currently, more than 700 different bacterial species have been identified in the oral cavity, some of which are known to be periodontopathic. These bacteria contribute to epithelial barrier dysfunction in the gingiva by producing several virulence factors. However, some bacteria in the oral cavity appear to be beneficial, helping gingival epithelial cells maintain their integrity and barrier function. This review aims to discuss current findings regarding microorganism interactions and epithelial barrier function in the oral cavity, with reference to investigations in the gut, where this interaction has been extensively studied.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1651158
JournalTissue Barriers
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2019


  • adherens junctions
  • Epithelium
  • periodontal disease
  • porphyromonas gingivalis
  • tight junctions


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